Safe City Nelson

Safe City Nelson initiatives share one goal – working to keep Nelson one of the safest places in Australasia.

While Nelson has one of the lowest crime rates in New Zealand , there has been feedback in previous years from residents saying they don’t feel safe in the inner city area after dark. That is why many initiatives have been and continue to be focused on addressing this particular issue. It often doesn’t help that so much media attention is given to the ‘bad guys’ and the victims of crime, when in fact, most New Zealanders live safe and law-abiding lives.

Police say 50% of Nelson crime could be eliminated if people simply locked their cars and houses.

Nelson City Council’s Safe City Nelson initiatives enhance safety and aim to keep our young people free from harm as they enjoy night time activities in the city.

Safe City Nelson initiatives

Be safer in your home - tips

Sense of ownership

Places that demonstrate a sense of ownership promote respect and boundary responsibility. Showing a space is cared for will make the offender feel that she or he will look out of place and their presence will be challenged.

Maintenance is key to ensuring a sense of ownership.

  • Clearly define your private property boundary (e.g. yard, driveway, and walkway) from public space (e.g. street, footpath) by landscaping, (e.g. alternate paving stone colour, low shrubbery or low fencing).

Access to your house

Make it easy for the right people to find their way into your house and harder for intruders.

It’s much better if people don’t have to GUESS to find the entrance. You don’t want to give people an excuse to wander around your house, so provide them with a footpath leading to the front door.

  • Consider defensive planting. Use low thorny bushes beneath ground level windows.

See and be seen

It is important to maintain visibility between houses and streets. People in the street and neighbours who can see your house provide additional security.

  • Make sure you can see public spaces; i.e. streets and reserves.
  • Make entrances visible and overlooked by a window if possible.


Ensure appropriate lighting for streets, paths, alleys, and parks. Lighting is an important element in any site design. It should provide clear paths for movement and highlight entryways without creating harsh effects or shadowy hiding places. Lighting removes the cover of darkness that offenders need to commit crime.

  • Call your Council if you feel the lighting in public reserves is inadequate.
  • Install sensor lights on your property.


Keeping your place maintained shows your home is cared for and offenders will know they might be challenged.

  • Be careful that bushes don’t overwhelm sightlines.
  • Do not plant shrubs that obscure visibility of front fences.
  • Prune selectively to open up sightlines and reduce places to hide.
  • Trim the lower branches of trees to a canopy height of 2 metres allowing sightlines underneath them.


Fences can define boundaries and ownership but should also allow clear views of surrounding area. Low fences allow neighbours to get to know each other and watch out for each other. See ‘See and be seen’.

  • Keep fences low – 1.2 metres high at most, not obscuring the entrance.

Reserve boundary

Is your property on the boundary of a reserve? If so allow oversight from the reserve to your property and from your house to reserve.

  • Avoid bushy landscaping (trees and shrubs) that may give offenders a place to hide. See ‘See and be seen’.
  • Law-abiding people are more likely to use a reserve that feels safer, which in turn makes your home safer.