Crime Prevention: Senior Safety
By J.T. Turner
April 5, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.
Updated April 4, 2014 at 11:05 p.m.
Statistics show, for seniors, the fear of crime far outweighs the chances of them being a victim.
That fear, however, can cause them to alter their habits, which may negatively affect their quality of life. Here are some tips that may help reduce that fear.
When at home, use deadbolt locks on all doors and keep the doors locked, even when you're inside.
Make sure your windows have latches that are in good working order and consider adding a secondary lock.
You can make your home appear occupied when you're out by using timers on lights or televisions.
Don't let strangers into your home. If your door is equipped with a peephole, by all means, use it. If not, think about installing one; just make sure it has a 190-degree viewing angle.
Always answer the door but never open it. If a solicitor tries to pressure you into opening the door or otherwise seems suspicious, call 911.
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 road so police, fire or EMS can quickly find your home in an emergency.
When out and about, ideally, go with friends or family, don't carry any credit cards you don't need and try not to carry large amounts of cash.
Ladies, watch your purses when shopping. A number of purses have been stolen after the victim left a purse 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 careful of con artists. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 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 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.
You can also get on the do-not-call list. This list prevents a lot of unwanted calls. Visit donotcall.gov.
If you are the victim of a scam, report it as soon as you can. It may be embarrassing, but it may also prevent others from becoming victims.
Don't let fear take over your life. Be aware of your surroundings, take action to improve your security and sleep a little better at night.
For more information, contact Crime Prevention Officer J.T. Turner, Crime Prevention Unit, at 361-485-3808.