Safety, and feeling safe from crime is important for individual and community health and wellbeing, and for perceptions of the city. Addressing public health risks and preparing for natural hazards will help safeguard our communities in the future.

Under legislation, the Council has many public health-related obligations (e.g. disposal of wastewater, liquor licensing etc.). Christchurch is also vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, with the potential for significant harm to people and property. Along with Environment Canterbury, we have responsibility for the avoidance or mitigation of those hazards. Building community understanding is vital to addressing these issues.

What this means for our district

  • People feel safe in their homes, neighbourhoods and the central city.
  • Community facilities and public places are safe, healthy, and welcoming.
  • An increasing proportion of people participate in active recreation and sporting activities.
  • Equitable access to parks, open spaces, recreation facilities, and libraries across the city.
  • Christchurch is well prepared for natural hazards and can respond and recover quickly.
  • Increased public awareness and understanding of natural hazards and climate change, and their associated challenges.

How we are contributing

We are working across the district on a variety of local issues which promote safe and healthy communities. We aim to ensure equitable access to parks, open spaces, recreation facilities, and libraries across the city. Council is involved in the CAAP (Community Alcohol Action Plan), a partnership with police and the district health board to reduce alcohol harm.

We participate in Water Zone Committees(external link) which work with the communities and decision makers to care for communities and waterways.  Recently completed tsunami inundation modelling for Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbour will be used to help Civil Defence with emergency planning in Banks Peninsula. We are working with local communities in South New Brighton and South Shore to develop a regeneration strategy to help address challenges associated with natural hazards and climate change.

How you can help

Make sure you are well educated about natural hazard risks in your area. Get to know your neighbours so they have someone to call on if they need help. Encourage friends and whānau to lead healthy lifestyle by enjoying our parks, beaches and recreational facilities. Attend Council and Community Board meetings or Water Zone Committee meetings and have your say on local issues you care about.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
Indeterminate Result

People feel safe in their homes, neighbourhoods and the central city after dark

While people feel safe in their own homes, the proportion has decreased since the earthquakes to 92 per cent in 2016. 

People are starting to feel safer in their neighbourhoods since the earthquakes, up from 56 to 62 per cent.

The central city still only has around a third of respondents feeling safe after dark.  Further information.

Positive result

Notifiable diseases for CDHB

Since 2008, notifications for selected notifiable diseases have averaged 1300 annually. For the period 2004 to 2007, the average was 2000 per year. Further information.

Negative result

Accidental injuries

Hospital discharges for non-fatal accidental injuries increased from 860 per 100,000 people in 2004 to a peak of 1067 in 2011.  It has since averaged around 1040 per 100,000 people per year. Further information.

Negative result


An increasing proportion of people participate in active recreation and sporting activities

People are doing less physical activity per week. The proportion of people undertaking activity at least five times per week fell from 59 to 44 per cent between 2006 and 2016. Further information.

Preparedness for emergency In case of an emergency, 87 per cent of Christchurch residents have 3 days of food stored; 74 per cent have secured heavy household items that might fall; and 70 per cent have 3 days of water at their homes. Further information.

People feel safe in their homes, neighbourhoods and the central city

Most people in Christchurch feel safe or very safe in their own homes after dark, with 92 per cent of respondents reporting this in the Quality of Life survey. Prior to the earthquakes, this was around 94 per cent and fell to 90 per cent in 2012, the lowest in the time series.

In 2016, 62 per cent of people reported feeling safe in their neighbourhood after dark. This is an increase from 56 per cent after the earthquakes, and is comparable to feelings of local safety prior to the earthquakes.

Fewer people feel safe or very safe in the central city after dark, compared with in their homes or neighbourhoods. Before the earthquakes, this averaged 34 per cent of respondents, whereas post-quake it has averaged 32 per cent. (Note in 2012, due to the effects of the earthquakes, Christchurch respondents were asked to think about their main business/shopping location that they currently used, rather than the central city).

Notifiable diseases for Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB)

Of the notifiable diseases(external link) reported to the Canterbury District Health Board which are food or water borne - and unlikely to be primarily associated with overseas travel - campylobacteriosis was the most common. Before 2008, there was an average of 1600 cases per year in Canterbury; since 2008, the average per year has declined to 795. 

There was a peak in 2012, which could be related to post-earthquake conditions. Between 2013 and 2016, the number of notified campylobacteriosis cases remained stable at around 750, although this increased to 860 in 2017.

The other main notifiable diseases have not shown any increasing or decreasing trends, except for yersiniosis. Since 2012, the number of yersiniosis cases has almost doubled to an average of 180 cases per year.

Accidental injuries 

Hospital discharges for unintentional or accidental injuries in Christchurch show an increase in the rate of non-fatal injuries that result in hospitalisation. There are differences by age.

Rates for children have shown a decline of 20 per cent since 2000, from around 1000 injuries per 100,000 people to around 800. 

Working age group rates (15-64 years) have generally fluctuated between 600 and 750 per year. The rate declined until the early 2000s but has since increased by around 15 per cent.

The over 65 year age group's rate has almost doubled between 1990 and 2016; from 1500 to 2900 injuries per 100,000 people. These rates are adjusted for the number of people in each age group, so this is independent of the number of people in this age group. 

We cannot tell if these injuries are in public places or in people's homes. The increase may be due to the aging of this part of the population, with more people in the older age groups (for example, over 80 years of age).

Frequency of physical activity

The Quality of Life survey asks respondents how active they have been in the last seven days. Since 2006, the number of days per week that people do physical activity has been declining. The proportion of those who undertake physical activity at least 5 times per week fell by a quarter, from 59 per cent to 44 per cent. 

Although the proportion of people doing no physical activity throughout the week has remained at around 6 per cent, the proportion of people doing between 1 and 3 days per week has increased from 24 per cent to 36 per cent since 2006.

The average number of days of physical activity per resident has declined by 15 per cent, from 4.8 days per week in 2006 to 4.1 per cent in 2016. This decline is consistent with the decline at the national level.

Residents' level of preparedness for emergencies

In 2018, in preparation for a natural disaster, 87 per cent of Christchurch residents had 3 days worth of food stored, 74 per cent had secured heavy household items that might fall, and 70 per cent had 3 days worth of water at their homes. 

Fewer residents (just over 50 per cent) stated they had an up to date emergency plan.

Compared with before the earthquakes, a higher proportion of people have 3 days worth of water stored. However, slightly fewer have 3 days worth of stored food.