Whangarei shooting tragedy highlights risks to workers of visiting marginalised people in their homes

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1 NEWS

After the tragic shootings in Whangarei on Wednesday one risk expert says the growing social divide in the country is heightening the risk to workers who have to visit people in their homes.

A risk expert says pressures on the vulnerable can push people towards extreme behaviour.
Source: 1 NEWS

Netanya and Wendy Campbell were shot dead by Quinn Patterson while they visited Patterson's property as part of an inspection and to install smoke alarms.

Patterson died after his house went up in flames during a shoot-out with police. 

Duncan Holland from Total Risk Management told 1NEWS added pressure on the most vulnerable in society can push them towards extreme behaviour.

"Anyone who goes to site is facing a potential risk, our society is basically pushing more and more people into a corner," Mr Holland says.

In an effort to minimise the risk his company offers safety training to social agencies, councils and utility companies using three core principles, risk assessment, de-escalation and disengaging.

"People are scared, and when people are scared they do things they wouldn't normally do and sometimes those can be catastrophic things," he said.

General Manager of Auckland Property Management Celia Burberry looks after more than 35 property managers and knows the risks they face first-hand.

She told 1NEWS in recent times her staff have faced death threats, while some have been stalked and abused.

Recently her company has started using a mobile app to pinpoint where their people are, they also employ code words to phone in if they're in trouble.

"Another thing we've put in place to try and manage risk is to request our tenants register prior to viewing an open home so we have some idea of who's coming," Ms Burberry said.

It's hoped the increasing awareness of risk management around home visits means another incident like the tragedy which happened in Whangarei can be avoided.

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