CRIME prevention Senior Safety
Statistics show that senior citizens are less likely to be the victims of crime than others. Unfortunately, the fear of crime among seniors is often much higher, so much so, that it can negatively affect the quality of life for some.
To alleviate fear and improve security we just need to consider a few simple precautions:
Home security - Ensure that your home is adequately secured by equipping doors with quality deadbolt locks and adding secondary locks to windows. An additional window lock can be as simple as a piece of PVC pipe cut to fit between the sliding window and the frame. Keep doors and windows locked even when home. And don’t forget to use those 3” screws on the door hardware.
Don’t let solicitors into your home. If your door is equipped with a peephole, by all means, use it. If not, think about installing one. Make sure you answer the door but never open it. Let whoever is at your door know you are home but don’t give them an opportunity to enter and don’t let them pressure you into opening the door. If a solicitor tries to pressure you into opening the door or otherwise seems suspicious, call 911.
Keep the exterior of your home well lit at night and make it appear occupied when you’re away by using timers on lights or televisions.
Don’t hide spare keys under a doormat or other obvious places. Instead leave a set with a neighbor, friend or family member.
Make sure your house number is clearly visible from the street so police, fire or EMS can quickly find your home in an emergency.
When out and about - ideally go with a group of friends or family, don’t carry any unneeded credit cards and try not to carry large amounts of cash.
Ladies, don’t lose sight of your purses when shopping. Oftentimes, a purse is stolen after the victim left it in a shopping cart, dressing room or restroom. Keep your purse close to your body, not hanging from the strap. You don’t want to give someone the opportunity to snatch it. If someone does try to steal your purse, it’s better to just let them have it than risk injury to yourself. A safer bet would be to carry a small wallet with only your essentials.
Be wary of scammers. We constantly get complaints and questions about different scams in the area. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it may very well be. Don’t rush into anything. Speak about any questionable offers with friends and relatives or check with the Federal Trade Commission or Better Business Bureau. Never give credit card, bank account or other personal information over the phone and never wire money to someone you don’t know. Don’t worry about appearing rude; simply hang up on any unwanted telephone solicitor.
We should always be concerned about crime and our personal safety but not to the point of reducing our quality of life. Stay aware of your surroundings, take a few commonsense precautions and sleep better at night.
John Turner is a crime prevention officer with the Victoria Police Department. For more information of senior safety or other crime prevention tips, he may be contacted