Criminological research indicates that it is not vulnerability but lifestyle and amount of time spent out of the home which are pre-disposing factors to offenses against seniors. However, there is a disproportionately high personal impact. Ways of reducing exposure and impact include: hardening targets, creating protective environments, encouraging self-help, awareness of crime and prevention techniques, and Risk avoidance.
Because of their anxiety about crime, many seniors live a life of self-imposed confinement. Isolated from much of the outside world, they have been described as prisoners in their own homes (Braungart et al., 1979). Many seniors exist on small incomes, making it more difficult for them to recover financially from crime. Those living on fixed incomes, in particular, may suffer relatively more severe losses from crime.
If an attacker only wants your purse, wallet or other valuables, DO NOT RESIST! Your life and safety are far more valuable than your possessions. Make a conscious effort to get an accurate description of the attacker and call 9-1-1 immediately. If you are able to do so, write down as many details about the attacker as possible. Contact your local victim assistance agency to help you deal with the trauma that crime victims experience. Staff there can direct you to counseling opportunities, victim compensation laws, and how to follow your case’s progress.
How this can help seniors:
Get to know your neighbors and community
Neighborhood Watch Programs Senior citizens can be encouraged to actively participate in Neighborhood Watch programs and/or programs specifically targeting the needs of senior citizens may be developed by Neighborhood Watch groups.
Telephone Reassurance Programs for Seniors
Seniors who enroll in this program are called daily by telephone to see if they are OK. Such calls can either be automated or manned. · Senior Volunteers Seniors can provide volunteer assistance to law enforcement agencies. Seniors have been sworn in to issue handicap parking citations. Seniors have been used to operate neighborhood speed detection equipment or to make home vacation checks.
National Association of Triads
The National Association of Triads is a cooperative agreement between the AARP, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) to work together to reduce both criminal victimization and unwarranted fear of crime affecting senior citizens. Triad is community policing, developing improved ways to reduce crimes against senior citizens and enhance law enforcement services to them.
Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:
Tip #1 – Utilize telehealth services. These services provide seniors, especially those with mobility issues, access to doctors and nurses without leaving the comfort of their homes.
Tip #2 – Limit risks with occasional inspections. Inspect racks, mats, knobs and handles to make sure they’re secure throughout the house. Unsecured objects create great potential for injury.
Tip #3 – Get to know your doctor. Seeing a doctor regularly allows them to really know you and your well-being. This creates more comfortability with sharing information and asking questions, resulting in more confidence in your care.
Tip #4 – Protect yourself from infections. The CDC also recommends pneumococcal vaccines for those 65 or older. These protect against diseases seniors are more susceptible to like pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.