Older Americans and safety
By Charles J. Hynes
Brooklyn District Attorney
President Obama has continued the tradition started by President Kennedy of recognizing the month of May as “Older Americans Month.” The following are some common-sense safety tips that can help ensure your safety and peace of mind.
• Public Safety
Older women experience higher levels of purse snatching undermining overall feelings of safety. Some women have said that they feel more confident without a bag, or choose instead to tuck purses into pockets. If possible, shop with a friend or family member. When out alone, avoid displaying money or expensive jewelry, and keep cash in your purse to a minimum. Men should keep wallets in their front pant pockets or inside coat pocket, and women should avoid purses with dangling straps. If someone does try to forcibly steal your purse or wallet, give up your property without resistance. Keep information at home so that you can cancel credit cards and alert your bank of the theft. If keys are stolen, the police and my office can help arrange to have locks changed.
• Safety at Home
Most people spend considerable time enjoying the security that their home offers. Some tips for safety in the home are: deadbolt locks on all exterior doors and a wide angle peephole on the front door. If a stranger asks to use your phone direct them to the nearest public phone or make the call for them. Strangers should never be let in without identification, and if in doubt, do not open the door. Doors should always be locked even if just leaving momentarily to take out the garbage or pick up the mail. House keys should only be left with a trusted neighbor or family member and not under the mat or similarly conspicuous place.
Also, consider a safety deposit box for your precious belongs, and keep your financial arrangements private. It is always wise to be aware of who is present when you are discussing such things. I encourage all seniors to devise a buddy system with a friend or neighbor to check on each other at frequent intervals.