Older people and their families worry about crime, and with good reason. Though the elderly are less likely to be victims of crime than teenagers and young adults, the number of crimes against older people is hard to ignore. Each year, about two million older people become crime victims.
The elderly are targets for robbery, personal and car theft, and burglary. Older people are more likely than younger victims to face attackers who are strangers. They are more often attacked at or near their homes. Chances are that an older victim may be more seriously hurt than a younger person.
It isn’t only strangers who hurt older people. Sometimes, family members, friends, or caretakers may physically, mentally, or financially abuse older people through neglect, violence, or by stealing money or property.
Even though there are risks, do not let a fear of crime stop you from enjoying life. There are things you can do to be safer. Be careful and be aware of what goes on around you.
You can fight crime. The best thing you can do at home is to lock your doors and windows. You can also protect yourself at home in other ways:
- Always try to see who’s there before opening your door. Look through a peephole or a safe window. Ask any stranger to tell you his or her name and to show proof that he or she is from the identified company or group. Remember, it is okay to keep the door locked if you are uneasy.
- Make sure that locks, doors, and windows are strong and cannot be broken easily. A good alarm system can help. Many police departments will send an officer to your home to suggest changes that could improve your security.
- Mark valuable property by engraving an identification number on it, such as your driver’s license number. Make a list of expensive items such as jewelry or silver. Take a picture of the valuable items and store the details in a safe place like a bank safety deposit box.
On the street, stay alert at all times, even in your own neighborhood and at your own door. Walk with a friend. Try to stay away from places where crimes happen, such as dark parking lots or alleys. You can also:
- Have monthly pension or Social Security checks sent direct-deposit, right to the bank. If you visit the bank often, vary the time of day you go.
- Don’t carry a lot of cash. Try not to carry a purse. Put your money, credit cards, or wallet in an inside pocket. If you are stopped by a robber, hand over any cash you have.
- Don’t dress in a flashy way. Leave good jewelry, furs, and other valuables in a safe place to avoid tempting would-be robbers.
You can help your friends and neighbors by reporting crime when it happens. Police say that more than half of all crimes go unreported. If you don’t report a crime, because of embarrassment or fear, the criminals stay on the streets.
If you are the victim of a crime, there is help. Contact the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), 1757 Park Rd., NW, Washington, D.C. 20010. NOVA’s 24 hour hotline is 1-800-TRY-NOVA.
About Boyd Security
Boyd & Associates is a premier full-service security firm headquartered in Ventura, CA with more than 600 associates serving homeowners, businesses, and gated communities throughout Southern California.