Defense Against Crime

11/08/2009

Protecting our elderly treasures

Filed under: Crime Prevention — peppereyes @ 1:08 PM
Tags: , ,

elderly-hands

Biblical scriptures states “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8. Criminals are exactly the same. Some would justly argue they are his pawns. None the less, the criminal mind looks opportunities to strike at the innocent, the defenseless, the weak, and the unprepared.  At one end of the spectrum we have children who can become victims of child predators; at the other end of the spectrum we have the elderly who can be ripe targets for the criminal mind. So often society discards the elderly, but they are really social treasures. They are someone’s parents, or grand parents. People who have lived and have lots of advice, to those traveling the road of life. To the criminal mind they are just an opportunity.  

 A few years ago a woman came to my eighty year old grandmother’s house asking to use the phone to call a cab. My grandmother knew the woman stayed in the neighborhood, and let her in.  After her supposed phone call she then asked to use my grandmother’s bathroom. The lady then attempted to rob my grandmother. She demanded money, and asked my grandmother to get it. My grandmother suffered for arthritis and could not easily move. She grabbed her walking stick to stand up, and when she did, let the robber have it across the head, several times.  It was this poor crooks worst day. Needless the injuries to the lady made it easy for the police to identify her and arrest her.

 Earlier this year, it was reported that 70-year-old Ellen Basinski refused to be intimidated by a man and three boys who forced their way into her house and demanded money .Ellen meted out a little domestic justice of her own when she fought off them with her favorite saucepan.

 Earlier this year, the elderly father of someone at my church had his home burglarized while he was at a medical center undergoing dialysis. I can only imagine his feeling of being violated.

 On June 1st of this year, an elderly Charleston woman was conned out of $500 by what she thought was Alarm salesman. Evans, 86, said, “he was a good talker and he sold his product well and I fell for it.”

A day after she wrote him a check, it had been cashed. “I’ve always worked hard to whatever I’ve got and had and I think everybody else should do the same thing if they want money, they should earn it,” Evans said.

 Agencies like the FBI have identified a list of reason why certain criminals target the elderly, they are as follows:080423_James_Higgins

  • Older American citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” own their home and/or have excellent credit all of which the con-man will try to tap into.  
  • Individuals who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting.
  • Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or do not know they have been scammed, or they are frightened.
  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. The con-man knows the effects of age on memory and he/she is counting on the fact that the elderly victim will not be able to supply enough detailed information to investigators.
  • Lastly, when it comes to products that promise increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and security and so on, older Americans make up the segment of the population most concerned about these issues. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the products offered by these con-men can do what they say they can do.

 

Statistically the older you get, the less likely you are to be a victim of crime. However, it still makes sense to take precautions, especially against burglary, fraud and con games, which are the greatest crime threats for seniors.   Even thou many elderly tend to be more cautious, being a crime victim can have very serious consequences for them. In general, our older citizens have a deeper fear of being a crime victim than other age groups. That fear can be paralyzing and dangerous. Some older adults become housebound, or purchase weapons without knowing how to use them, or move to neighborhoods where they feel safer but are even more isolated from social supports.  Evidently, emotional and behavioral reactions to the fear of crime seriously affect the quality of an older person’s life.

 There are several home precautions that should be done in order to reduce the chances of them being the next crime victim.

 Unfortunately, you can’t always be sure that people turning up on your doorstep are who they say they are. Here are a few tips that should help you stop a bogus caller from getting any further than your doorstep: 

  • Be on your guard every time the doorbell rings, or there’s a knock at your door. Look out of your window to see who’s there first and if you don’t know who the person is, open the window slightly and talk to them that way, rather than opening your door.
  • Alternatively, have a viewer fitted in your front door so that you can take a good look at who’s there first. If your eyesight isn’t so good, don’t worry as you can now get wide-angle viewers to help you see better.
  • If someone does arrive they you are not sure about, Secure the door with a chain. Ask callers to pass through some identification. If you need your glasses to check this don’t think it’s rude to close the door and go and get them. A genuine caller won’t mind.
  • Put the door chain or door bar on before opening the door and talk through the gap. Fit a small mirror to the wall next to the door so that you can easily see the person you are talking to. When the caller has left and you’ve closed  and locked the door, don’t forget to unhook the chain so that any friend or relative you have given a key to can still get in.
  • Make sure your back door is locked if someone knocks at your front door. Sometimes thieves work together with one coming in the back way, while the other keeps you talking at the front. Consider getting something to secure your doors against kick-ins like the strike master II.
  • If you’re still not sure, ask the caller to leave and tell them to write and make an appointment so that someone else can be with you the next time they call.
  • If you feel threatened at any time or believe you are in immediate danger call the police on 911 

 Safety Begins at Home

  • Keep your possessions safe by securing your home.
  • Install and use good locks on doors and windows.
  • Make sure you have good exterior lighting on your home. Call the city/county and let them know if streetlights have burnt out on your road.
  • I’m a big advocate of dogs. Unlike home alarm systems, they can alert you when someone is in your yard, and their barking can often detour criminals.
  • Don’t hide keys under the doormat, in the mailbox or in a planter. Leave an extra set with a trusted neighbor.
  • Don’t keep large amounts of money in your home. Keep it in a bank where it is much safer.
  • Don’t keep other valuable is the obvious places. Consider getting hidden safes.
  • Get to know your neighbors, as it will be helpful to both of you if you get to know each other’s routines. This will also allow you to know who can be trusted
  • Make sure the street number on your house is large, well-lighted and unobstructed so emergency personnel can find your home quickly.
  • If you decide to install an alarm system, consider one that is monitored for burglary, fire and medical emergencies.
  • It is especially important not to let strangers into your home. Fit a door chain and viewer, and remember:
    •  Never give out personal details such as credit card information to strangers who come to your door or call you
    • Never let a maintenance or service man who has just turned up at your door into your home
    • Always check ID of maintenance men that you are expecting. You can check these details with their employer before you let them in. Some may use a pre-arranged password system to protect vulnerable people but if you are ever in doubt – ask them to come back when someone else is with you.

 Beware Greeks (con-men) bearing gifts12481842 

  • Trust your first instinct – If you have a bad feeling…go with that.
  • It’s still hold true “If it sounds too good to be true …” – free vacation, miracle cure, sure-fire investment – avoid it.
  • It is illegal for telemarketers to ask for credit card, Social Security, bank account numbers to verify prizes, so if anyone asks, don’t give it to them. Also remember you don’t pay a fee for FREE prizes.
  • If someone tries to rush you into signing an ANTHING such as a contract, insurance policy, sales agreement or anything else, be suspicious. Read it carefully and have a trusted friend check it, too.  Tell them you need your lawyer to review it. If they tell you it’s a limited promotion (for today only). PASS ON IT
  • There are con artists who will pose as representatives of companies or government agencies that, for a fee, recover money lost to fraudulent telemarketers. Don’t fall for this trick.
  • When in doubt, check it out by calling the police, the Better Business Bureau, the local consumer protection office, or the National Consumers League Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.

 The basic rule is if you don’t know the person at your door, don’t let them in.  Keep an eye on elderly or vulnerable neighbors.

 By Victor Swindell, owner of PepperEyes.com, a division of Swindell Enterprises. PepperEyes.com is dedicated to assisting the safety needs of those people who are unwilling to become a victim and are taking responsibility to protect themselves, their cars, or their possessions .In today’s society being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.

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1 Comment

  1. This is some really good info. As our population ages more seniors who mostly have a different, more trusting value system leave themselves vulnerable on a lot of levels. Thanks for the great post.

    Like

    Comment by Self Defense Items — 11/08/2009 @ 2:09 PM


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