Seniors are more vulnerable to certain crimes, purse snatching, mugging, and fraud. But you can reduce opportunities for criminals to strike by being careful, alert, and a good neighbor.
When You’re Out
- If you must carry a purse, hold it close to your body. Don’t dangle it.
- Never carry a wallet in your back pocket. Put it in an inside jacket pocket or front pocket.
- Make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to return.
- Avoid dark, deserted routes, even if they’re the shortest.
- Carry change for emergency telephone and transportation use.
- Whenever possible, travel with friends to stores, the bank, or the doctor.
- When using the bus or other public transportation, sit near the driver if possible.
- Don’t overburden yourself with packages and groceries that obstruct your view and make it hard to react.
- Have your car or house key in hand as you approach your vehicle or home.
- Carry a shriek alarm.
- When you drive, keep doors locked and windows. Park in well-lighted, busy areas. If you have car trouble, be wary of strangers who offer help. Stay in your car and ask them to call a service truck or the police.
- If a friend or a taxi takes you home, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.
- Communicate the message that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.
When You Are At Home
- Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Keep your doors locked at all times, even when you’re inside.
- Protect windows and sliding glass doors with good locks or other security devices.
- Make your home appear occupied when you go out by using a timer to turn on lights and a radio.
- Never let strangers in your home without checking their identification. Call their company if you’re not sure. Install a peephole in your door and use it.
- If you live alone, don’t advertise it. Use only your first initial in phone books, directories, and apartment lobbies.
- Get to know your neighbors and keep their phone numbers handy for emergencies.
- Work out a “buddy” system with friends to check on each other daily.
- Engrave your valuables with a unique identification number recommended by the police. Keep bonds, stock certificates, seldom worn jewelry, and stamp and coin collections in a safe deposit box.
- Don’t hide extra house keys under a doormat or other obvious spots.
Protect Your Money
- If you receive checks in the mail regularly, arrange for them to be sent directly to the bank instead.
- Avoid carrying large sums of money. If you must take a large sum, have a friend accompany you.
- Don’t display large amounts of cash in stores or other public places
- Don’t sign a check or contract until you’re sure it’s for a legitimate reason and know the details. Check with a friend, lawyers, or a police officer if in doubt.
- Never put your purse or wallet on a counter while you examine merchandise in a store.
What If You Are Assaulted
- If the attacker is only after your purse or other valuables, don’t resist. Your life and safety are worth more than your possessions.
- Make a conscious effort to get an accurate description of the attacker and call the Upper Allen Police immediately.
Where Can I Find Additional Information
- Visit AARP’s web site for more tips and resources.