While I was researching to prepare for this article, I realized very quickly that I’d become complacent even though, for years, I actually gave talks on this subject. I mean, heck, I live in a small town “where everyone knows your name” – and more than likely, most of your business! So, what are the chances of me being a victim of a crime? Practically nil, right? Well, maybe not…According to the FBI’s 2008 Uniform Crime Report “the total number of violent crimes [robbery; assault; etc] has declined for the second year in a row across the United States, except in small towns with less than 10,000 residents.” Hmm… And, we’ve already learned of scams that are focusing on us older guys. So, here are some tips I’ve found and compiled for your review and comment. Use the ones that work best for you.
Top 10 Crime Prevention Tips For Senior Citizens
1. Be sure the locking hardware on your home is sufficient, and works properly.
• Door lock types vary. Ask a professional which type is appropriate for your home.
• Screws securing strike plates should be replaced with ones long enough to grab framing wood
• Horizontal track bars should be used on sliding doors
• Window hardware should be replaced with security hardware or supplemented with vertical track bars
• Peep holes should be installed, and should be positioned so you can see out of them without obstructions
2. If you have a security system on your home, make sure it works properly and use it regularly.
• Even when you’re out during the day
• Battery back-ups will keep the system working even when power is lost
• Cellular back-up maintain a connection to a monitoring station even when phone lines are out
3. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight or in easily predictable locations within your home.
• Not on the dresser top
• Don’t leave expensive items in jewelry boxes
• Not in your sock or underwear drawer
4. Install, maintain, and use proper lighting to deter nighttime crime
• Use exterior lighting over all entrances
• Mount the lighting high enough to prevent tampering
• Use timers and light sensors- don’t rely on turning lights on manually every night
• Place interior lights on timers so your home looks occupied
5. Maintain foliage according to the 3’/7’ rule for better visibility- not higher than 3’ or lower than 7’
• Especially near entrances
• Especially near walkways to home
6. Remember that stranger safety still applies.
• Don’t let strangers talk their way into your home
• Don’t let anyone draw you out of your home
• Ask for ID or credentials from utility workers
• Did you ask for assistance from this utility or contractor? Why are they there?
7. Carry your cell phone with you all the time
• Turn your location to “ON” and keep the power turned on
• Charge it nightly
• Have a listing in your address book for ICE- In Case of Emergency
8. Protect your money.
• Watch for scams and fraud
• Know where your money is
• Check your credit report annually
• There is no “Nigerian Money”, “foreign lottery”, or “lost inheritance.” Honest!
9. Don’t flaunt valuables
· Wearing jewelry in public may be “advertising” to criminals
· Leaving valuables in cars leaves them open to thieves
10. Be alert to your surroundings.
• Situational awareness is important in keeping yourself safe. Always know what’s going on around you
• Involve neighbors, friends, and Neighborhood Watch
• Partner with a friend for a daily mutual check-in
Thanks, for the read.