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Crime safety tips for the elderly

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New York City Department for the Aging’s Elderly Crime Victims Resource Center  offers these tips for seniors:

Walking

  • 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.
  • Avoid walking alone at night. Try to have a friend accompany you in high risk areas . . . even during the daytime.
  • Avoid carrying weapons . . . they may be used against you.
  • Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Walk confidently.
  • Have a companion accompany you.
  • Stay away from buildings and doorways; walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Have your key ready when approaching your front door.
  • Don’t dangle your purse away from your body.
  • Don’t carry large, bulky shoulder bags; carry only what you need. Better yet, sew a small pocket inside your jacket or coat. If you don’t have a purse, no one will try to snatch it.
  • If you do not recognize the party , don’t get on an elevator.

Shopping

  • Carry your purse very close to you . . . don’t dangle it from your arm. Never leave your purse in a shopping cart. Never leave your purse unattended.
  • Don’t carry any more cash than is necessary. Many grocery stores now accept checks and automatic teller cards instead of cash.
  • Don’t display large sums of cash.

In Your Car

  • Always keep your car doors locked, whether you are in or out of your car. Keep your gas tank full and your engine properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.
  • If your car breaks down, pull over to the right as far as possible, raise the hood, and wait INSIDE the car for help. Avoid getting out of the car and making yourself a target before police arrive.
  • At stop signs and traffic lights, keep the car in gear.
  • Travel well-lit and busy streets. Plan your route.
  • Don’t leave your purse on the seat beside you; put it on the floor, where it is more difficult for someone to grab it.
  • Lock bundles or bags in the trunk. If interesting packages are out of sight, a thief will be less tempted to break in to steal them.
  • When returning to your car, check the front and back seat before entering.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.