Crime Prevention Tips For
Crime Prevention Tips for
Crime and the fear of crime create special problems for
the elderly. Crime prevention is everyone's responsibility, not just a job for
law enforcement. Seniors can learn how to protect themselves from crime by
following these simple, commonsense suggestions. Share these tips with your
neighbors and friends, to make it tough for criminals to work in your
AT HOME . . .
- Never open your door automatically. Install and use
- Lock your doors and windows. (Three quarters of the
burglaries involving older persons involved unlocked doors and windows; and,
less than one half of these robberies are reported.) Keep your garage doors
- Vary your daily routine.
- Use "Neighbor Watch" to keep an eye on
your neighborhood. A concerned neighbor is often the best protection against
crime because suspicious persons and activities are noticed and reported to
- Don't leave notes on the door when going out.
- Leave lights on when going out at night; use a timer
to turn lights on and off when you are away for an extended period.
- Notify neighbors and the police when going away on a
trip. Cancel deliveries such as newspapers and arrange for someone - a
neighbor's child, perhaps - to mow the lawn if need be. Arrange for your
mail to be held by the Post Office, or ask a neighbor to collect it for you.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers to make repairs to
your home. Deal only with reputable businesses.
- Keep an inventory with serial numbers and
photographs of resaleable appliances, antiques and furniture. Leave copies
in a safe place.
- Don't hesitate to report crime or suspicious
- Install deadbolt locks on all your doors.
- Keep your home well lit at night, inside and out;
keep curtains closed.
- Ask for proper identification from delivery persons
or strangers. Don't be afraid of asking . . . if they are legitimate they
- If a stranger asks to use your telephone, offer to
place the call for him or her yourself.
- Never let a stranger into your homeDo not leave
notes on your door when you are gone, and do not hide your keys under the
mat or in other conspicuous places.
- Never give out information over the phone indicating
you are alone or that you won't be home at a certain time.
- When you are gone for more than a day, make sure
your home looks and sounds occupied . . . use an automatic timer to turn on
lights, radio or TV.
- If you arrive at home and suspect a stranger may be
inside, DON'T GO IN. Leave quietly and call 911 to report the crime.
WALKING . . .
- If you are attacked on the street, make as much
noise as possible by calling for help or blowing a whistle. Do not pursue
your attacker. Call 911 and report the crime as soon as possible.
- Avoid walking alone at night. Try to have a friend
accompany you in high risk areas . . . even during the daytime.
- Avoid carrying weapons . . . they may be used
- Always plan your route and stay alert to your
surroundings. Walk confidently.
- Have a companion accompany you.
- Stay away from buildings and doorways; walk in
- Have your key ready when approaching your front
- Don't dangle your purse away from your body. (Twelve
percent of all crimes against the elderly are purse snatchings and street
- Don't carry large, bulky shoulder bags; carry only
what you need. Better yet, sew a small pocket inside your jacket or coat. If
you don't have a purse, no one will try to snatch it.
WHILE SHOPPING . . .
- Carry your purse very close to you . . . don't
dangle it from your arm. Never leave your purse in a shopping cart. Never
leave your purse unattended.
- Don't carry any more cash than is necessary. Many
grocery stores now accept checks and automatic teller cards instead of cash.
- Don't display large sums of cash.
- Use checks where possible.
IN YOUR CAR . . .
- Always keep your car doors locked, whether you are
in or out of your car. Keep your gas tank full and your engine properly
maintained to avoid breakdowns.
- If your car breaks down, pull over to the right as
far as possible, raise the hood, and wait INSIDE the car for help. Avoid
getting out of the car and making yourself a target before police arrive.
- At stop signs and traffic lights, keep the car in
- Travel well-lit and busy streets. Plan your route.
- Don't leave your purse on the seat beside you; put
it on the floor, where it is more difficult for someone to grab it.
- Lock bundles or bags in the trunk. If interesting
packages are out of sight, a thief will be less tempted to break in to steal
- When returning to your car, check the front and back
seat before entering.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
BANKING . . .
- Many criminals know exactly when government checks
arrive each month, and may pick that day to attack. Avoid this by using
Direct Deposit, which sends your money directly from the government to the
bank of your choice. And, at many banks, free checking accounts are
available to senior citizens. Your bank has all the information.
- Never withdraw money from your bank accounts for
anyone except YOURSELF. Be wary of con artists and get-rich schemes that
probably are too-good-to-be- true.
- You should store valuables in a Safe Deposit Box.
- Never give your money to someone who calls on you,
identifying himself as a bank official. A bank will never ask you to remove
your money. Banks need the use of your money, and they don't want one of
their customers to invite crime by having large amounts of cash around.
- When someone approaches you with a
get-rich-quick-scheme involving some or all of YOUR savings, it is HIS
get-rich-quick-scheme. If it is a legitimate investment, the opportunity to
contribute your funds will still be there tomorrow-after you have had time
to consider it.
- If you have been swindled or conned, report the
crime to your local police or Prosecuting Attorney's office. Con-artists
count on their victim's reluctance to admit they've been duped, but if you
delay you help them get away. Remember, if you never report the crime, they
are free to cheat others again and again and you have no chance of ever
getting your money back.