Protect yourself and love your neighbour
Home and family security remain the first priority of Neighbourhood Support in protecting your property and neighbours from intruders.
One question that always gets asked during my presentations and working at the community base is:
‘‘What are your rights in terms of protecting yourself and your family from a criminal attack and the use of self defence?’’
In section 48 of the Crimes Act 1961, the law states:
‘‘Everyone is justified in using, in the defence of himself or another, such force as, in the circumstances as he believes them to be, it is reasonable to use.’’
Everyone is entitled to defend themselves from attack. But the force used in defence should not be out of proportion with the attack.
Such defence should not be used as an opportunity to exact revenge or to punish the attacker.
The force used should be reasonable in the circumstances, and a person would be held accountable for using force in excess of what was required.
Even the police can be held accountable.
However, the law does not expect a person defending himself to weigh up to a nicety, the exact measure of force required, just that the force used must be reasonable in the circumstances.
Just as important is how our community responds to showing some concern for the care and welfare of other individuals.
The recent death of an elderly pensioner at the Newtown flats brought attention to how important it is to know your neighbours.
He had been dead for more than a year and no-one knew, because there were no regular checks from the landlord or his neighbours.
We all have grandparents or parents who may be frail and if we can’t be there to look out for them, it would be comforting to know they have neighbours or good people to watch out for them.
Recently a friend of mine helped an elderly neighbour who had fallen over in the street. This elderly person suffers from dementia and her partner didn’t realise she had wandered out. Lucky an alert and caring neighbour did.
The next day my friend went out and covered the potholes and uneven ground to prevent any further mishaps. That’s what good neighbours do.