Crime Prevention is everyone's responsibility, not just law enforcement. Unfortunately, law enforcement cannot protect everyone from becoming a victim of fraud, scams and other serious crimes, but we can provide you with the knowledge and tools to educate yourself and your family.
For senior citizens, it is especially difficult due to their frequency of victimization in the United States. Seniors are often targeted due to their trusting nature, the availability of liquid assets or cash, their dependence on others, and the susceptibility to the charm and guiles of a con artist combined with their often lonesome lifestyle.
Tips & Suggestions
Seniors can learn how to protect themselves from crime by following these simple, common-sense suggestions. Share these tips with your neighbors and friends too, and make it tough for criminals to work in your neighborhood.
- Always keep your doors (including your screen door) and windows locked. Install dead-bolt locks on all doors.
- Keep your home well lit at night, inside and out, and keep your curtains closed at night.
- Install a peephole in your front door so that you can see callers without opening the door.
- Ask for proper identification from delivery persons and strangers. Don't be afraid of asking, if they are legitimate they won't mind.
- Never give your credit card, phone card, social security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone.
- If a stranger asks you to use your telephone, offer to place the call for him/her yourself, never let a stranger into your home.
- Do not leave notes on your door when you are gone, and do not hide your keys under the mat or in any 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 automatic timers to turn on lights and a radio or television.
- If your car is parked outside overnight, be sure to lock your doors and remove your garage door opener to reduce the potential of someone gaining access to your car or home late at night or while you are sleeping.
- Carry your purse very close to you - don't dangle it from your arm. Never leave your purse in the shopping cart unattended and be sure to keep your purse closed tightly to reduce crimes of opportunity.
- Be alert of your surroundings and of efforts to divert your attention away.
- Don't carry more cash than is necessary. Many grocery stores now accept checks and automatic teller cards.
- Avoid walking late and alone at night.
- Do not carry weapons, they may be used against you!
- Have your paychecks or government checks automatically deposited into your bank account.
- Never withdraw money from your bank accounts for anyone except yourself. Be wary of con artists and get-rich schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, don't do it!
- Keep your gas tank full and your engine properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.
- Always lock your car doors, even when you're inside and keep your windows rolled up.
- Lock packages and other valuables in the trunk. Do not leave them on the back seat or on the floor where potential thieves can see them.
- When you return to your car, always check the front and back seats before you get in and be aware of who is around you.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- If your car breaks down, pull over to the right as far as possible, raise the hood, and wait inside the car for help. Do not get out of the car or roll down the window until the police or help arrives.
- If you arrive at home and see a stranger at your home, a broken window or an open door, don't go in call the police and leave until the police arrive.
- 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.
- If you have been swindled or conned, report the crime to your local authorities. Con artists count on their victims being too embarrassed to tell anyone they have been scammed or fallen victim to fraud.