People with disabilities

A disability - impaired vision, hearing, mobility, or a mental or psychological impairment does not prevent you from being a victim of crime. Common sense actions can reduce your risk.

  • Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, or waiting for a bus or taxi.
  • Send a message that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going.
  • Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.
  • Know the neighborhood where you live and work. Check out the locations of Police & Fire Stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants, or stores that are open and accessible.
  • Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Most of us have daily routines, but never varying them may increase your vulnerability to crime.

At home

  • Put good locks on all your doors. Deadbolt locks are recommended, but make sure you can easily use the locks you install.
  • Install peepholes on front & back doors at your eye level. This is especially important if you use a wheelchair.
  • Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a front line defense against crime.
  • If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message (giving your name, address, and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.

Out and about

  • If possible, go with a friend.
  • Stick to well lighted, well traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket. If you use a wheelchair, keep your purse or wallet tucked snugly between you and the inside of the chair.
  • If you use a knapsack, make sure it is securely shut.
  • Always carry your medical information in case of an emergency.
  • Consider installing a cellular phone in your vehicle.

Public transportation

  • Use well lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers.
  • Stay alert. Do not doze or daydream.
  • If someone harasses you, make a loud noise or say "Leave Me Alone" in a loud voice. If that does not work, hit the emergency signal on the bus or train.

Con artists - Many con artists prey on people’s desires to find miracle cures for chronic conditions and fatal diseases. To outsmart these con artists, remember these tips:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true.
  • Don’t let greed or desperation overcome common sense.
  • Get a second opinion.
  • Be wary of high pressure tactics, need for quick decisions, demands for cash only, or high yield - low risk investments.

Take a stand

  • Join or help organize a Neighborhood Watch group. Make sure the meetings are accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Work with local law enforcement to improve responses to all victims of crime. Role- play how people with disabilities can handle threatening situations.
  • Work with a rehabilitation center or advocacy groups to offer a presentation to schools and other community organizations on the needs & concerns of people with disabilities.