CRIMES AGAINST THE ELDERLY: Prevention Information
Want to conquer your fears, prevent crime and reduce your chances of being a victim? Sheriff John Buncich recommends that you take these common-sense precautions:
It is well documented that as we age, our chances of being victims of crime decrease dramatically. But a lifetime of experience coupled with the physical problems associated with aging, often make older Americans fearful. Although older people are constantly on the lookout for physical attack and burglary, they're not as alert to frauds and con games which are the greatest crime threat to seniors' well-being and trust.
BE ALERT WHEN YOU ARE OUT AND ABOUT
•There is safety in numbers.
•Go out with friends or family, not alone.
•Always, carry your purse close to your body, do not allow it to dangle by the straps.
•Place your wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
•If someone attempts to steal your purse or rob you – sit down.
•If you get into a struggle and get knocked down you may break a bone and this will draw attention to your situation, something a thief does not want.
•Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash. Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
•Whether you're a passenger or driver, keep your car doors locked. Be particularly alert in parking lots and garages. If possible, park in a well lighted area near an entrance.
•Sit close to the driver or near the exit while riding the bus, train, or subway. If someone or something makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
MAKE YOUR HOME SAFE AND SECURE
•Install good locks on doors and windows. Use them! Don't hide keys in mailboxes and planters or under doormats. Instead, leave an extra set of keys with a neighbor or friend.
•Ask for photo identification from service or delivery people before letting them in. If you are the least bit worried, call the company to verify.
•Be sure your street address number is large, clear of obstruction, and well-lighted so police and other emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
•Consider a home alarm system that provides emergency monitoring for burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.
WATCH OUT FOR CON ARTISTS
•Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true — a free vacation, sweepstakes prizes, cures for cancer and arthritis, a low-risk, high-yield investment scheme.
•Never give your credit card, phone card, Social Security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It's illegal for a telemarketer to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
•Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything — an insurance policy, a sales agreement, a contract. Read it carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
•Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, consumer organizations, or government agencies that offer to recover lost money from a fraudulent telemarketer for a fee.
If you're suspicious, check it out with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department at 755- 3400, the Better Business Bureau, 980-1511, LC PROSECUTOR or your local consumer protection office. Call the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.
GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY
•Report any crime or suspicious activities to law enforcement.
•Join a Neighborhood Watch to look out for each other and help the police.
•Work to change conditions that hurt your neighborhood. Volunteer as a citizen patroller, tutor for children, office aide in the police or fire department, mentor for teens, escort for individuals with disabilities.
Indiana Attorney General