Safety for seniors

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, as people grow older, their chances of becoming a victim of crime decreases. However, a lifetime of experience coupled with the physical problems associated with aging often make older Americans fearful. Though they’re on the lookout constantly for physical attack & burglary, they’re not as alert to frauds and con games, which is the greatest crime threat to seniors’ well being & trust.

Be alert when out and about

  • Go with friends & family, not alone.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, not by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside pocket or front pants pocket.
  • Don’t carry credit cards you don’t need or large sums of cash.
  • Use Direct Deposit for Social Security and other regular monthly checks.
  • Whether you’re a passenger or driver, keep car doors locked. Be alert in parking lots & garages. Park near the entrance if possible.
  • Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or subway.
  • If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave. MAKE YOUR HOME SAFE AND SECURE
  • Install good locks on doors & windows, and use them! Do not hide keys in mailboxes & planters, or under doormats. Leave an extra set of keys with a friend or neighbor.
  • Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you are the least bit worried, call the company to verify.
  • Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well lighted so Police, Fire & other Emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
  • Consider a home alarm system that provides monitoring for burglary, fire & medical emergencies.

Watch out for con artists

  • Don’t fall for anything that sounds too good to be true, a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, cures for cancer, arthritis, or a low-risk high-yield investment scheme.
  • Never give your credit card, ATM card, Social Security number or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It’s illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
  • Don’t let anyone rush you into signing anything, an insurance policy, sales agreement, contracts. Read it carefully & have someone you trust check it over.
  • Beware of people claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from fraudulent acts for a fee.
  • If you’re suspicious, check it out with the Police, Better Business Bureau, or local consumer protection office. Call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060.

Get involved in the community

  • Report any crime or suspicious activities to Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • Form a Neighborhood Watch to look out for each other, and help the Police.
  • Work to change conditions that hurt your neighborhood. Volunteer as a citizen patroller, tutor for children, office aide in the Police or Fire Departments, mentors for teens, escort for individuals with disabilities. DOES YOUR COMMUNITY HAVE A TRIAD PROGRAM? It’s sponsored by the AARP, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association, (NSA). Triad promotes partnerships between senior citizens and the Law Enforcement Community, both to prevent crime against the elderly and to help law enforcement to benefit from the talents of older people. If you’re interested, contact your local Chief of Police, Sheriff, AARP chapter, or call Triad at NSA, 1-703-836-7827.