Personal safety

The Gold Coast is a safe place, but crime can still occur.

When we feel safe, we are more confident and active, which makes it easier to connect with our community. By being alert and vigilant of our surroundings, we can reduce our chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Here are some sensible tips and reminders to stay safe.

Safety out & about

  • Display a confident attitude and use strong body language to reduce your vulnerability.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, where you are and who is around you.
  • Do not wear headphones or talk on your phone, as it makes you distracted and less alert.
  • Take only what you need with you.
  • Carry a mobile phone.
  • Carry your handbag in front of your body.
  • Keep your bag with you at all times and avoid leaving your bag (for example, in a shopping trolley).
  • When using an ATM, make sure it is in public view where you can be seen by other people, be discreet when putting the cash in your bag or wallet.
  • Avoid short-cuts that would take you through isolated areas, especially at night.
  • If you think you are being followed or in danger of being confronted
    - cross the street
    - try and get the attention of people nearby
    - shout as loudly as you can
    - seek help at the nearest house, shop or busy public place.
  • If you are confronted by someone who is trying to take your bag, give it to them. This may go against all your instincts, but remember that no amount of money or inconvenience is worth personal injury.
  • If possible, take note of what the offender looks like and, if a vehicle is involved, take note of its registration number. Call the police with this information.

The Gold Coast has a vibrant nightlife and features a range of entertainment options for a great night out with friends or family. If you're going for a night out, it's easy to think ahead – make sure you plan how to get home safe.

Safety in the home

  • Be familiar with neighbours who may assist you in an emergency.
  • Open your door only to people you know and trust and use a peephole or a window to see who's there before opening it.
  • If someone is at the door and you are alone and feel concerned, pretend there is someone else in the house (eg. 'John, there's someone at the door.')
  • Don't give your name, phone number, address to unknown telephone callers.
  • Make sure your house number is easy to see from the street both day and night.
  • Trim bushes and trees that obscure windows and could be used as hiding places by intruders.
  • Consider installing sensor lights that turn on when you come home at night.
  • Have valuables engraved – contact your local police station for details.
  • Lock up your home carefully and consider extra security measures. Visit the Queensland Police Service website.
  • Plan at least two escape routes so you can leave your home quickly in an emergency.
  • Store emergency numbers in your phone or if you have a home phone keep them written beside it.

If there's an intruder

If you're at home and find an intruder, you could:

  • call Triple Zero (000)
  • leave the house immediately, with other occupants if possible, and go to a neighbour or somewhere safe to contact and wait for police
  • activate the burglar alarm
  • get to the nearest phone in the home and quietly call the police
  • switch on lights and make a lot of noise moving about, but do not confront the intruder.

If the intruder confronts you, shout and scream if you believe this noise might be heard by a neighbour.

If you arrive home and suspect an intruder is inside, do not enter the house. Go to a neighbour's house and call the police on Triple Zero (000). Keep out of sight and a safe distance from the house.

Safety while driving

  • If you are going somewhere unfamiliar, plan your route carefully in advance.
  • Avoid travelling on isolated roads, especially at night.
  • Ensure your car is in good condition and has plenty of oil, petrol and water.
  • Never pick up a hitchhiker.
  • If you are being followed or encounter an aggressive motorist, drive to a populated area, such as a service station, and seek assistance.

Safety in parking areas

  • Park your car in well-lit areas and don't leave valuables in sight.
  • Have your keys ready before you walk to your car for quick access.
  • Remember to check your vehicle is secure and be wary of people loitering nearby.
  • Before you enter your car, check first (including the back seat) to ensure all is in order.

Safety on public transport

  • To reduce your waiting times, know your public transport timetable. Use the Translink app or website at translink.com.au
  • Wait for your public transport in safe, well-lit areas and with other people.
  • If the bus or train is empty, or nearly empty, sit near the bus driver or the train driver.
  • When leaving public transport, be alert to who gets off with you.
  • In an emergency, seek help by alerting the guard or pushing the emergency contact button.

Safety in taxis & ride-share services

  • Book the vehicle via the phone app or internet.
  • If possible, catch a taxi from a secure taxi rank, with security and marshals.
  • Don't get into the vehicle if the driver makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to select another one.
  • Sit in the safest place of the left rear seat, diagonally opposite the driver.
  • You are entitled to specify the route you wish to take to reach your destination. Speak up if the driver takes a different route to the one you have specified or are familiar with.
  • Stay alert to your surroundings and avoid sharing personal information to the driver.
  • Let the driver know if you feel the conversation is inappropriate.

Online personal security

More than ever, Australians are connecting online to stay in touch with friends and family and access various online services and content. Everyone has a role to play in maintaining online security.

The Australian government provides an extensive range of services to help Australians have safer, more positive experiences online. Links to these are in the Related sources and further advice section below.

You can take action to protect your information and family with some simple online security steps.

  1. Know what devices you have connected to the internet and need to protect.
  2. Turn on auto-update to keep your devices, operating systems, and software apps up to date.
  3. Set strong and unique passwords on all your online devices and accounts.
  4. Always use multi-factor authentication (MFA) if it's supported.
  5. Use anti-virus software on all supported devices.
  6. Backup device data regularly to safeguard critical information.
  7. Be cautious of links or attachments in emails, text messages, and social media messages.
  8. Be wary about the information you share, as scammers can use personal information to steal your identity.
  9. Use privacy settings on devices, browsers, and apps to limit access to personal information.
  10. Connect to a trusted and secure internet connection wherever you can.

Related sources and further advice

  • Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) provides extensive advice and information about protecting you, your family, and your business online.
  • Scamwatch or the Office of Fair Trading provides information about how to identify scams and report them.
  • eSafety Commissioner provides material and free webinars tailored for parents, kids, young people, women, seniors, and diverse groups, translated in multiple languages.
  • To find out how Council protects your personal information, go to our online security page.

Fraud & scams

Seniors are more likely to become victims of fraud than any other crime. Fraud is most common when goods or services are sold over the telephone or via door-to-door traders.

Common types of fraud:

  • home construction, building and repairs
  • vehicle purchases and mechanical repairs
  • credit cards
  • telemarketing
  • door-to-door traders.

If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, call your local police station.

If you suspect you are a victim of online fraud, see the Related sources and further advice in the Online personal safety section above.

For seniors

There is a mistaken belief that older people are more vulnerable to crime and live in fear. But, statistics show the older you get the less likely you are to become a victim of crime. Seniors tend to spend more time at home and with family, and are less likely to place themselves in high-risk situations.

To feel secure when you're out and about, a personal security alarm or whistle may help you in an emergency and attract the attention of people around you.

We have a handy fact sheet with tips and useful contact numbers and a transport guide available for seniors.

The Queensland Police Service 'Senior Safety' page provides crime prevention information and advice for seniors.

Seniors Enquiry Line – is a state-wide 'one stop' information and referral service for Queensland seniors, families, friends, grandparents and carers. Call 1300 135 500 (outside Queensland 07 3867 2500).

The Australian Red Cross Telecross – provides a free daily call to the frail, aged, people with a disability or medically at risk to check on their health and well-being. If the call is not answered, Red Cross initiates an emergency procedure and arranges for assistance. Call 1300 885 698.

Elder abuse

Elder abuse is any behaviour within a relationship of trust that harms an older person. New laws have been introduced to protect older people from emotional, psychological, financial, physical or sexual abuse or neglect. Support is available, contact: Elder Abuse Hotline 1300 651 192.

Useful contact information

FOR ALL EMERGENCIES CONTACT Triple Zero (000)

Crime & safety Seniors information Consumer information
Policelink
For non-urgent police enquiries
Phone: 13 14 44
Web: police.qld.gov.au/policelink-reporting
My Aged Care
Information on aged care services
Phone: 1800 200 422
Web: myagedcare.gov.au
Legal Aid – Legal help for financially disadvantaged Queenslanders
Phone: 1300 651 188
Web: legalaid.qld.gov.au
Queensland Police Service (QPS)
National Crime Prevention Framework developed by the Australian Institute of Criminology.
Web: police.qld.gov.au/safety-and-preventing-crime
Elder Abuse Helpline
Information on elder abuse
Phone: 1300 651 192
Web: eapu.com.au
Office of Fair Trading – Consumer advice, rights and responsibilities
Phone: 13 74 68
Web: fairtrading.qld.gov.au
Crime Stoppers
Report a crime
Phone: 1800 333 000
Web: crimestoppers.com.au
Seniors Enquiry Line
A state-wide information and referral service
Phone: 1300 135 500
Web: seniorsenquiryline.com.au
 
Safehome
Initiative of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to assist householders to recognise fire and safety hazards in the home.
Phone: 13 74 68
Web: qfes.qld.gov.au/safety-education/programs/safehome
Australian Red Cross Telecross
Free, daily health and well-being check
Phone: 1300 885 698
 

For additional support and other services, please visit our Safety Information and Support Contacts page.

Some of this information has been sourced from ‘Safer living for Queenslanders.’ State of Queensland (Queensland Police Service) [2020]

For further information email communitysafety@goldcoast.qld.gov.au