Crime prevention is everyone's responsibility. It is not just a job for law enforcement. Seniors can learn how to protect themselves from crime by following these simple commonsense suggestions. Share these tips with your neighbors and friends and make it tough for criminals to work in your neighborhood.
- Always keep your doors and windows locked. Install dead bolt locks on all your doors.
- Ask for proper identification from delivery men or strangers. Don't be afraid of asking if they are legitimate, they won't mind.
- Do not leave notes on your door when you are gone. Do not hide your keys under the mat or in other conspicuous places.
- If a stranger asks to use your telephone, offer to place the call for him/her yourself. Never let a stranger into your home.
- Install a peephole in your front door so you can see callers without opening the door.
- Keep your home well lit at night, inside and out, and keep your curtains closed at night.
- Never give out information over the phone indicating you are alone or that you won't be home at a certain time.
- When you are gone for more than a day. make sure your home looks and sounds occupied. Use an automatic timer to turn on lights and a radio or TV.
- Avoid walking alone at night. Try to have a friend accompany you in high risk areas even during the day time.
- Carry your purse very close to you - don't dangle it from your arm. Also, never leave your purse in a shopping cart.
- Do not carry weapons - they may only be used against you.
- Don't carry any more cash than is necessary. Many grocery stores now accept checks and automatic teller cards instead of cash.
- Have your paychecks or government checks sent directly to your bank account many banks have senior citizens discounts.
- Never withdraw money from your bank accounts for anyone except yourself. Be wary of con artists and get-rich schemes that probably are too good to be true.
- Always lock your car doors. Even when you're inside your car, keep your windows rolled up.
- If your car breaks down. Pull over to the right as far as possible. Raise the hood, and wait inside the car for help. Do not get out of the car or unroll the window until the police arrive.
- Keep your gas tank full and your engine properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.
- Lock packages and other valuables in the trunk. Do not leave them on the back seat or on the floor of the car where potential thieves can see them.
- When you return to your car, always check the front and back seat before you get in. Never pick up hitchhikers.
- If you are attacked on the street, make as much noise as possible by calling for help or blowing a whistle. Do not pursue your attacker. Call 911 and report the crime as soon as possible.
- If you arrive at home and suspect a stranger may be inside; do not go in. Leave quietly and call 911 to report the crime.
- If you have been swindled or conned, report the crime to your local police or District Attorney's Office. Con artists count on their victim's reluctance to admit they've been duped, but if you delay, you help them get away. Remember, if you never report the crime, they are free to cheat others again and again and you have no chance of ever getting your money back.