Lock it when you leave…

Deb Thurgood

I hope you had a good long weekend. For us, it involved several reports of burglary across town – not the sort of thing to which you want to come home. Sometimes it is the little things that make your house a target.

A door accidentally left unlocked or a window latch on a ventilation setting is enough to give an opportunist an easy ‘in’ to your property. Please remember to double check your house security when you leave.  Once in, the longer the thieves are able to stay in your house undetected, the more time they have to search through your rooms and steal. If a house alarm is installed, when triggered, it will draw attention to what is happening. This increases the likelihood that the offenders will scarper quickly and that neighbours or passers-by will notice and be able to provide key identifying information about them. Please be vigilant.

Another topic I want to bring up is Digital Harm. I have previously discussed it a few months ago however we continue to get reports of this occurring on a frequent basis, so it is worth mentioning again.

The most common digital harm is online bullying and so-called revenge porn.  Online bullying can be via direct message (text, WhatsApp or Facebook messenger) or in a more public forum (a post on community Facebook pages). Online bullying is more than a one-off and is usually carried out with the intent to shame or embarrass someone, commonly spreading rumours and lies, sending an individual unwanted messages, hacking or impersonating someone online or creating fake profiles to make fun of someone.

Revenge porn is when intimate photos or recordings are sent to a third party or made public without the knowledge or consent of the person/s involved often after a relationship break up (hence the name). These actions again are carried out with the intent to cause an individual embarrassment or harm.  Online bullying can have significant emotional and psychological impacts on the victim.  Depending on the nature of the online abuse, it may fall under the category of harmful digital communications making it a criminal offence. If you have been affected by some form of digital harm that has or will cause you serious emotional distress, then you can also apply to the courts for a ‘harmful digital communications order’ to be issued on the perpetrator.

This is a big topic so for further information about what to do if you or someone you know are being bullied, visit at www.netsafe.org.nz . More information on the harmful digital communications order is available at www.justice.govt.nz. As always, if you receive threats or your safety is at risk, call 111.

I’ll finish with a quick word to parents and students who cycle to school. We continue to receive complaints about students using the pavements in Victoria Street as a high-speed cycle path.  Remember that bicycles are not allowed on footpaths, especially so in the main street of town with many pedestrians around. Please use the cycle lanes provided and recommended cycle routes to get to and from school. Also, wear a helmet!

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