Though crimes against elderly have gone down, it is still important to stay alert. Here are some tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.
The number of elderly victims falling prey to crimes like robbery, snatch theft and cheating last year has gone down by 22 percent, according to a MediaCorp Radio report published March 9, 2011. The number of lift robberies involving seniors has also dropped by 17 percent. However, this does not mean we should be complacent. Below are some tips from a brochure from the National Crime Prevention Council:
• Staying indoors:
1) When alone at home, keep your grille gates and doors locked at all times to prevent unwelcome visitors from entering the house.
2) Never open doors to strangers. Use the door-viewer to identify a visitor. Keep chain-latch of the door fastened when talking to the visitor.
3) Do not keep large amounts of money in your home. Keep valuables in a safety deposit box at your bank.
4) Check the identity of anyone who claims to be a maintenance officer, repairman or Government official. Ask for their credentials and check with the Government department concerned or with your family members of any such appointment. Call the police if in doubt.
5) Never open the door to strangers who claim to be relatives or friends of your children. Do not give strangers money when they ask for payments of hospital bills or goods.
• Away from home:
1) Notify your family members of your whereabouts if you intend to go for a trip.
2) Secure all windows and doors before you leave.
3) Discontinue mail and newspaper deliveries. Otherwise, arrange to have someone pick up any newspapers or mail that are left on your step
4) Let your neighbours know you are going to be away for how long and how you can be contacted if necessary.
• Staying outdoors:
1) Walk in pairs or group and only in well-lit areas.
2) Always sling your handbag in front of you or hold it under your arm and walk facing on-coming traffic to prevent it being snatched.
3) Carry a personal alarm for extra protection.
4) Be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas that increase your chances of being assaulted.
5) Never flaunt your wealth such as watches and jewellery in public as this might draw attention to theft. Keep valuables especially jewellery out of sight.
6) Do not fall for anything that sounds too good to be true such as fortune telling, magical talismans or objects like ‘magic stone’ that can cure illnesses, or any introduction to get-rich-quick schemes. If you are suspicious, check it out with the police by noting the descriptions of the culprit, e.g. their appearance, complexion, clothing, mannerism, movements and other physical details. This will help the police to identify the culprit later.
7) Never give out personal numbers like credit card, NRIC and bank account number to anyone over the phone.
1) Do not let anyone rush you into buying anything – insurance policy, contract or sales agreement. Read it carefully and have someone you trust to check it over.
2) Never buy ‘winning’ 4-D tickets from strangers, as these tickets are likely to be forged or tampered with.
If crime appears uninvited on you, it is vital that you should not fight back as you can easily sustain serious injuries, even death, in resisting. Remain calm and try to memorise the assailant’s appearance. Call the police immediately once you are safe to do so.
Should you need assistance, call the Police at 999 or your nearest Neighbourhood Police Post/Centre.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Senior Man Travelling, anissat, stock.xchng)