Safety tips for older people
Thankfully, crimes against elderly people are relatively uncommon, but in any event such crimes can be very disturbing.
If you have elderly relatives or neighbours you can help them to make their homes safer and reduce the risk of them becoming a victim.
Just by giving a little of your time you can reassure them, especially if they live alone. You could visit them regularly and even offer to fit additional locks to windows and doors, door viewers and chains for extra security.
If you are elderly yourself, you need to be aware of your personal safety and take precautions to avoid danger at home and while you are out.
- Protect your possessions by securing your home and marking your property.
- Keep an eye out for the welfare of your neighbours. If you spend a lot of time at home your watchfulness can be invaluable to your community. You might consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Make sure to report any suspicious behaviour to the police at once.
- Be wary of unexpected visitors who, for example, arrive at your door offering to make repairs on something they have noticed needs fixing. Before having any work done on your home seek the advice of someone you trust and get two or three quotes from other firms first.
- In some areas older people can get help to pay for locks and chains on their windows and doors. To find out if there is a scheme where you live, ask either your local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, the council’s Housing Department or the Neighbourhood Policing Team at your local policing unit.
- Remember that even the best security equipment is useless unless it is used. Be sure to always lock up properly, even if you are just popping out for a few minutes.
Looking after your valuables
Keep your money safe in a bank, building society or post office and avoid keeping large sums of cash in the house. Don’t keep your cheque book and cheque card together and don't keep your PIN number with your credit or debit card.
There are some people who specialise in preying on older people so you should be extra wary of any unexpected callers, whether it’s a man or a woman. Remember to always ask for their identity card confirming where they are from and, if you are still unsure, tell them to make an appointment and return later.
A genuine caller won't mind you checking their identity with the organisation they claim to work for. When checking with organisations, always get the telephone number from the phone book, don't rely on a number provided by the caller.
Involving the local police
If you belong to a pensioner’s lunch or social club, ask the organisations to invite the police or other speakers along to give advice on how to secure your home and protect your community.
You can find out who your local police officer is by visiting the Neighbourhood Policing section of the Leicestershire Constabulary website.