By Pam Canty, Intake and Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan
June is crime prevention month for senior citizens. The senior citizen population is a vulnerable age group because they are more likely to be on low or reduced incomes, more likely to live alone, and more likely to suffer from physical and cognitive impairments. Some types of crime could be but are not limited to psychological abuse, material/financial, physical abuse, and sexual abuse.
Age Safe America reports that older adults are faced with unique issues when it comes to crime and the fear crime creates. Understanding crime, and the precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim of crime, can help you feel confident while maintaining your independence. Age Safe America has a few commonsense crime prevention tips to help you protect yourself.
Walking – Plan your route so you can walk confidently. Make sure you stay alert to your surroundings. If possible, walk with someone else and stay in well-lit areas. If you carry a purse, hold it close to your body or under your jacket. Carry your identification and money in a pocket, and always have your keys ready when you approach your door.
In Stores – Whenever possible pay with a check or debit card. Do not show large sums of money or leave your purse unattended if you carry one.
In Your Car – Keep your doors locked when you are in or out of your car, at stop signs and traffic lights keep your car in gear. Plan your route and take busy streets that are well lit. Keep all items off your seats, and do not pick up strangers or hitchhikers.
Banking – Set up your Social Security and pension check to direct deposit into your bank account. Keep your valuables in a Safe Deposit Box. Never give out your banking information or fall for a get rich quick scheme.
At Home – Lock your doors and windows, and close drapes and blinds at night. Use your neighborhood watch, and always check who is at the door before opening it. Use a timer to turn your lights on and off and leave lights on if you are getting home after dark. Never leave notes on your door when you are gone. Cancel all deliveries and put a hold on your mail when you go out of town. Keeping a list of items with serial numbers and photos in a safe place is a good idea. Don’t forget to report crime or suspicious activities.
To keep yourself safe please remember these helpful safety tips. If you need more safety prevention tips contact your local Area Agency on Aging, AARP, and Police or Sheriff Departments.
Pam Canty is an Intake and Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2005. As an Intake and Screening Coordinator, Pam helps seniors in Michigan apply for food assistance and other benefits.