Senior Crime Prevention Programs


Senior citizens represent the most rapidly growing segment of the population in the United States. One in every eight American is currently age 65 or older, a total of more than 33.6 million. By year 2000, this number will increase to an estimated 35 million as baby boomers age and life expectancy increases. By year 2030, the number of senior citizens is expected to exceed 64 million in the U.S.

Although national surveys indicate that senior citizens are the least victimized age group, they often exhibit the greatest fear of crime. This fear can at least partially be contributed to their fear of personal vulnerability. Due to the natural consequences of aging, i.e., loss of hearing and/or eyesight along with other chronic and debilitating conditions, senior citizens perceive themselves as more vulnerable to physical injury if attacked. Senior citizens often live in isolation due to the loss of family members. They are also more likely to live in inner city neighborhoods that may have high crime rates.

Senior Safety Tips

Crime Prevention Programs

There have been numerous crime prevention programs developed for senior citizens. Examples of such programs include the following:

  • U.S. Postal Service mail carriers are encouraged to report when mail at the home of a senior citizen has not been collected.
  • Drivers of meals-on-wheels are instructed to report the absence of senior citizens.
  • Meter readers for utility companies are encouraged to be particularly alert for unusual circumstances at the residences of senior citizens.
  • Another program is when volunteers will, on a regular basis, call senior citizens to check on their safety and well-being.
  • Another program is when duress alarms are installed between apartments or condominiums of senior citizens so the resident of one can alert another if there is a crime or health problem.
  • A church or 4-H chapter may provide escorts for senior citizens.
  • Another crime prevention program is to encourage senior citizens to have any regular incoming checks (Social Security, pensions, supplemental income, VA compensation, etc.) deposited directly into their bank checking or savings account.
  • The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has developed a brochure, featuring McGruff that provides crime prevention recommendations and tips for senior citizens.
  • The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is very involved in the development of crime prevention educational materials for senior citizens. The AARP also recommends the use of senior citizens as law enforcement volunteers. They can possibly be utilized in Operation Identification, security surveys, crime prevention education, neighborhood surveillance and patrols, senior citizen escort services, crime analysis, victim/witness assistance, and court watching.

Triad

Triad is a cooperative agreement between the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) to work together to reduce both criminal victimization and unwarranted fear of crime affecting senior citizens. Triad is commu-nity policing, developing improved ways to reduce crimes against senior citizens and enhance law enforcement services to them.

Triad activities are generally carried out by S.A.L.T. (Seniors And Lawmen Together) Councils which typically include representatives of police departments, the sheriff’s office, AARP and other senior organizations, service providers, hospitals, the business community, clergy and other agencies involved in or interested in helping senior citizens.

Among the Triad sponsored activities are the following:

  • Information for senior citizens on:
    • How to avoid criminal victimization
    • Increased involvement in Neighborhood Watch
    • Home security information and inspections
    • Knowledge of current frauds and scams
    • Coping with telephone solicitations and door-to-door salesmen
    • Senior abuse prevention, recognition and reporting
    • Training for police officers and sheriff deputies in communicating with and assisting senior citizens
    • Telephone reassurance programs for senior citizens.
    • Adopt-a-senior visits for shut-ins.
    • Intergenerational projects beneficial to senior citizens and youth.
  • Emergency preparedness plans by and for senior citizens.
  • Senior citizen walks at parks or malls — with crime prevention components
  • Victim assistance by and for senior citizens.
  • Court watch activities.
  • Refrigerator cards with emergency information.
  • Senior citizen volunteers within law enforcement agencies.
  • Citizen Police Academy to education the community.
  • Speakers bureau available to the community.
  • Information tables at senior centers and malls.

For more information on Triad, call 800-424-7827.