Older people and their families worry about crime. Though older people are less likely to be victims of crime than teenagers and young adults, the number of crimes against older people is hard to ignore. Older people are often targets for robbery, purse snatching, pick-pocketing, car theft, or home repair scams. They are more likely than younger people to face attackers who are strangers. During a crime, an older person is more likely to be seriously hurt than someone who is younger.
But, even though there are risks, don't let the fear of crime stop you from enjoying life.
Be careful and be aware of your surroundings.
Here are some "do's and don'ts" that can help you fight crime and stay safe.
Be Safe at Home
Do try to make sure that your locks, doors, and windows are strong and cannot be broken easily. A good alarm system can help.
Do check to be sure your doors and windows are locked - both when you are in the house and when you're away.
Do make a list of your expensive belongings. You might even take pictures of the most valuable items. Store these papers in a safe place.
Do ask your local police department about marking your valuable property with an I.D. number.
Don't open your door before you know who's there. Look through the peephole or a safe window first. Ask any stranger for proof of identity before opening the door. Remember, you don't have to open the door if you feel uneasy.
Don't keep large amounts of money in the house.
Do get to know your neighbors. Join a Neighborhood Watch Program if your community has one.
Be Street Smart
Do try to stay alert. Walk with a friend. Stay away from unsafe places like dark parking lots or alleys.
Do keep your car doors locked at all times.
Don't open your car door or roll-down your window for strangers.
Do park in well-lit areas.
Do carry your purse close to your body with the strap over your shoulder and across your chest.
Don't resist a robber. Hand over your cash right away if confronted.
Be Safe with Your Money
Do have your monthly pension or Social Security checks sent right to the bank for direct deposit. Try not to have a regular banking routine.
Don't carry a lot of cash. Put your wallet, money, or credit cards in an inside pocket.
Don't keep your check book and credit cards together. A thief who steals both could use the card to forge your signature on checks.