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Safety Throughout Your Life


Safety Throughout Your Life Version: 1.0 (October 2, 2012) * The National Center on Elder Abuse provides facts, laws and legislation, statistics, research, resources ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Safety Throughout Your Life

Safety Throughout Your Life
Version 1.0 (October 2, 2012)
Presentations GoalTo examine the various
crimes against persons from your age group and to
look at what preventative measures can be taken
to prevent them.
  • Review current data and future projections
  • Review demographics
  • Learn how you feel about crime
  • Examine the most frequent crimes that occur
    including financial crimes, property crimes,
    violent crimes, and abuse
  • Learn preventative measures to stay safe

What does the data indicate?
Elders Today
  • A large demographic group
  • Estimated 37 million Americans. (Thats 1 in
  • Constitutes 12 percent of the U.S. population

More people getting older
  • Americans 65 years old or older are a
    fast-growing demographic group.
  • In 2012, the baby boom generation will begin to
    turn 66.
  • By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 72
    million seniors. This is equivalent to one in
    five Americans!

Predictions for eldersElders will live longer.
A larger demographic may make it possible for
greater victimization.
Elders and Crime
Fear of crime
  • Two-thirds of elders believe they will inevitably
    be victims.
  • Many elders alter their lifestyles because they
    fear being victimized.
  • Almost half of those age 75 or older are afraid
    to leave their homes after dark.
  • One-third of elders say fear of crime has
    contributed to a sense of loneliness and

Fear of crime (continued)
  • Other reasons why crime prevention is important
    to elders
  • Potential recovery from physical or financial
    injury is often limited.
  • Loss of money or physical faculties have more
    severe effects than on other age groups.
  • Media frequently portray the elderly as victims
    or, at least, as being vulnerable.

Most common types of crimes against elders
Financial crimes
Financial criminals generally seek to take cash,
credit, credit rating, or other assets by
Property crimes
Property crime is any crime when money or
valuables are damaged or stolen from a person,
home, or business without direct personal
Violent crimes
A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime
in which the offender uses or threatens to use
violent force upon the victim.
Elder abuse is a general term used to describe
certain types of harm to older adults.
Elder abuse
Financial Crimes
  • These crimes include
  • Fraud
  • Scams
  • Identity theft
  • Healthcare fraud

Financial Crimes (continued)
  • Financial criminals generally seek to take cash,
    credit, credit rating, or other assets by
  • These are very capable criminals. Many have
    excellent people skills and/or talent with
    computers and similar electronic gear.
  • Robbery involves a confrontation and the threat
    or use of force, but financial crimes often
    involve people who are pleasant and seemingly

Why are elders frequently the target of financial
crimes? Seniors often have accumulated
resources. Many own their homes and have
insurance, pension plans, savings, stocks and
bonds, and similar assets that may not always be
closely monitored.
Why are elders frequently the target of financial
crimes? (continued)
  • Vulnerabilities based on lifestyle
  • Many are accessible by telephone and mail, have
    time to listen, are too polite to hang up, keep
    assets readily available, have limited experience
    with investments, can no longer perform home
    repairs, and are deeply concerned with
    maintaining finances to last them through their

Why are elders frequently the target of financial
crimes? (continued)
  • Vulnerabilities based on lifestyle
  • Many are isolated by disability, fear of violence
    in the community, lack of peer friendships, or
    lack of transportation.
  • Many are trusting or complacent or forgetful of
    details and may be embarrassed to admit they were

  • Fraud involves deceit in the commission of a
    financial crime.
  • Those who commit fraud offer prizes, deals,
    opportunities, and bargains.
  • They may advertise with a teaser (e.g., Earn
    money working at home!) or with a phone call
    announcing a golden opportunity to invest.

Fraud (continued)
  • Fraud can take many forms.
  • Examples include home repairs, auto repairs, new
    carpet or appliances at bargain rates,
    work-at-home schemes, weight loss and similar
    health-related programs, stock and related
    investments, overseas investments, overseas
    lottery prizes, amazing deals on commodities
    trades, and more.

Fraud (continued)
  • Older people are major targetsthey make up about
    12 percent of the population, but 37 percent of
    telemarketing victims, according to one study. A
    telemarketing fraud artist told investigators,
    It is an article of faith in this business to go
    after the old folks.

Identity Theft
  • A growing threat More than 10 million Americans
    per year are victims of this crime although
    seniors are currently a small percentage of that

How Identity Theft Begins
  • There are many ways that a criminal can capture
    key information about an individual.
  • A pre-approved credit card mailing
  • A reply to a phony request to verify account
  • A bill from a credit card company
  • A receipt with a name and card number
  • A list that a computer hacker has stolen and sold
  • Mail or bills from discarded trash
  • Stolen wallets or purses

Identity Theft (continued)
  • The criminal uses information to make a purchase
    or obtain additional information about a persons
  • Social Security number
  • Bank account number
  • Credit card number
  • Drivers license number

Identity Theft (continued)
  • The criminal then exploits the identity by
  • Piling up charges on an account
  • Taking money from a bank account
  • Opening a new account
  • Applying for a loan

Discovering the Theft
  • Eventually the exploitation is discovered when
    the victim
  • Receives a bank statement with unknown
  • Finds newly created credit card accounts
  • Tries to apply for a loan and is denied
  • Is arrested for a crime committed by the thief
    when using the stolen identity

Reporting and Restoring the Identity
  • The victim reports the identity theft to the
    police and to the major credit bureaus.
  • The victim asks the credit bureaus to note the
    crime on his or her credit reports.
  • Depending on the state, the victim may need to
    consult with a local victims assistance agency
    or an attorney for specific steps that can be
    helpful or necessary.

Reporting and Restoring the Identity (continued)
  • The victim should also file a complaint through
    the Federal Trade Commission registry at
  • The victim needs to complete an affidavit of
    identity theft, available at www.ftc.govs
    identity theft section.

Preventing Identity Theft
  • Make sure you are aware of these prevention tips
  • Shred all discarded mail with personal
  • Routinely monitor financial accounts and billing
  • Make a copy of everything in their wallet in case
    it is lost or stolen.
  • Keep records of conversations and copies of all

Preventing Financial Crimes If someone makes an
offer that seems too good to be true, assume that
it is too good to be true!
Preventing Financial Crimes (continued)
  • Demand details in writing via U.S. mail and save
    the envelope, which permits the U.S. Postal
    Inspection Service to help investigate any
    criminal acts.
  • Assume that anyone who must have an answer
    immediately is trying to get you to act before
    you think. Insist on time to investigate the
    offer on your own.

Preventing Financial Crimes (continued)
  • Keep track of everything you own that is a
    financial asset.
  • Monitor credit accounts, bank statements, stock
    and pension fund statements, properties you own,
    and similar assets.

Financial Exploitation
  • Many criminals consider senior citizens easy
    targets for scams because they
  • May have a nest egg to spend or invest
  • Might be lonely and more willing to talk to
  • Are less likely to report fraud than other age
  • May not have their partner and confidant to talk

Preventing Financial Exploitation
  • Minimize isolation
  • Family and friends can help with early
  • Formal credit checks of elders finances
  • Background checks on caregivers or people close
    to possible victim

Financial Exploitation Warning Signs
  • Overdrawn bank accounts
  • Junk mail piling up at home
  • Numerous phone calls from numbers child/caregiver
    doesnt recognize
  • Gimme giftscheap, useless items like whistles,
    hats, rulers, or bumper stickers

Telemarketing Fraud
  • Criminals use high-pressure sales tactics and
    psychology to exploit the trust of victims.
  • Offers that seem too good to be true usually are.
  • You do not have to be polite to salespeople.
  • When on the phone, always feel free to say No,
    and hang up. Its not rude its shrewd.

Telemarketing Tip 1
  • Never give out personal information over the
    phone unless you initiated the call and trust the
    person or agency receiving the call. Legitimate
    callers will not ask for this information.
  • I dont give out personal information over the
    phone. Ill contact the company directly and
    provide them with the necessary information.

Telemarketing Tip 2
  • If the caller says something is free, then they
    shouldnt have to pay to receive it.
  • They should not need to pay handling charges or
  • I shouldnt have to send money for something
    thats free.

Telemarketing Tip 3
  • Limited time offers should not require an
    immediate decision.
  • Legitimate callers will not rush you.
  • You should sleep on it for a day or two.
  • Id like some time to think about this. Tell me
    how I can get in touch with you. If Im
    interested, Ill call you back.

Telemarketing Tip 4
  • Be wary of any caller that tries to convince you
    not to speak with anyone about the call.
  • Id like to take some time to discuss this with
    my family and friends, and Ill get back to you
    if Im still interested.

Telemarketing Tip 5
  • It can be hard to understand the details of an
  • Request to receive details in the mail.
  • All legitimate business offers and investments
    should be able to comply.
  • If you cant mail me the information, then I
    cant talk to you.

Property Crimes Against Elders
Property Crimes
  • Property crimes against elders include
  • Burglary
  • Theft

90 More than nine out of ten crimes against the
elderly are property crimes.
Property Crimes (continued)
  • Property crimes, not violent crimes, represent
    the highest share of crimes against those 65
    years old or older.
  • This includes burglary from a business or
    residence and auto theft.
  • Victims of property crimes suffer financial
    losses and may feel violated and continue to feel
    unsafe long after the crime.

Preventing Property Crime at Home
  • Set up timed lights and have a trusted neighbor
    pick up mail and newspapers while you are away.
  • Make sure your windows and house number are
    visible from the street. Illuminate doorways and
  • Trim shrubs.
  • Ask the police department to perform a security

Violent Crimes
Violent Crimes
  • Seniors experience the lowest number of
    victimizations and lowest rates of victimizations
    when compared with the general population.
  • The violent victimization rate of seniors has
    declined by more than 22 percent since 2001.

Violent Crimes (continued)
  • Elders are victimized at an annual rate of 2.8
    per 1,000 persons.
  • Robbery disproportionately affects seniors. It
    accounts for a quarter of the violent crimes
    against seniors, but only one-eighth of the
    violent crimes experienced by persons ages 12 to

Preventing Violent Crimes
  • Remember that most violent crimes (except robbery
    and purse snatching) take place between people
    known to each other.
  • Walk assertively, but not aggressively, in public
  • When going outside, go with a friend if possible.

Preventing Violent Crimes (continued)
  • Carry only the cash and/or credit cards that are
    immediately needed.
  • Dont take shortcuts through deserted or dark
    areas. Stay where there are lights and people.
  • When traveling, check with hotel staff about
    areas that should be avoided.
  • If youre confronted by a robber, hand over your
    money or valuables. Theyre not worth your life.

Elder Abuse
Elder Abuse
  • Approximately 500,000 elders are victims of
    domestic abuse each year.
  • Estimates are that only 16 percent of cases are
  • Family members are frequent offenders adult
    children are responsible for 47.3 percent other
    family members, 8.7 percent spouses, 19.3

Elder Abuse (continued)
  • These types of crimes include
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Financial or material exploitation
  • Self-neglect

Possible Signs of Physical Abuse of Elders
  • Although one sign might not indicate abuse, many
    of these are common.
  • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions,
    and burns

Possible Signs of Neglect of Elders
  • More possible signs of elder abuse
  • Sudden changes in financial situations may be the
    result of exploitation.
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene,
    and unusual weight loss are indicators of
    possible neglect.

You dont need absolute proof to report abuse.
Even if you just suspect abuse, call for help.
What To Do About Elder Abuse
  • Keep in touch with older friends and gently
    question any signs of physical, financial, or
    emotional abuse that you suspect.
  • Dont be surprised if a friend denies abuse
    remain in touch, concerned, and observant.

What To Do About Elder Abuse (continued)
  • If signs persist, call your local police
    department. If you are uncertain, check with
    someone at a senior center or another friend.
  • Share information, arrange talks by professionals
    in the field, and set up connections to helplines
    that can advise seniors on preventing and
    reporting abuse.

General Safety Tips
  • Follow these tips at home
  • Use sturdy metal or solid wood doors, and install
    and use deadbolt locks (1 ½ inch throw or
  • Use wide-angle viewers in doors at different
    heights if necessary.
  • Light up entry doors use motion detectors or
  • Trim shrubbery around doors and windows and make
    sure the address is displayed for emergency
  • Give an extra key to a trusted neighbor.

General Safety Tips (continued)
  • At home
  • Ask for photo identification from service,
    delivery or utility workers before letting them
  • Ask law enforcement for a free home security
  • Consider installing an alarm.

General Safety Tips (continued)
  • Out and About
  • Go out with friends and family, not alone.
  • Walk purposely and know where they are.
  • Walk down the middle of the sidewalk rather than
    along doorways or the curb.
  • Keep purses close to their bodies and wallets in
    front pants or jacket pocket.
  • Carry only cash, credit cards, and ID that will
    be needed.

General Safety Tips (continued)
  • Out and About
  • Use busier, better-lit stops on public transit.
  • Sit near the bus driver or with several other
  • If someone seems to be following you, turn in the
    opposite direction or cross the street. If they
    persist, approach the nearest group of people and
    ask for help.
  • If someone or something makes you feel uneasy,
    trust your instincts and leave.

General Safety Tips (continued)
  • In the Neighborhood
  • Know your neighbors.
  • Report crime and suspicious activities to police.
  • Start or strengthen a Neighborhood Watch group.
  • Find out if their area has community policing,
    and get to know the officers assigned to their

Emergency Preparedness
  • No one expects to deal with disaster, but
    everyone can prepare for them. Senior citizens
    should be ready to deal with emergencies like
  • Earthquakes
  • Power outages
  • Flooding
  • Fires
  • Toxic spills

Emergency Preparedness (continued)
  • Make sure seniors stock up on supplies for at
    least three days
  • Food, water
  • First aid kit, medicine
  • Phone numbers of local and
    nonlocal relatives
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Battery-powered radio,
  • Change of clothes, extra keys
  • Cash, change, credit cards

Emergency Preparedness (continued)
  • Checklist
  • Post emergency phone numbers by phone.
  • Arrange for someone to check on you.
  • Plan ahead for transportation.
  • Have an evacuation plan and practice it.
  • Find the safe places in your home for each type
    of emergency.

Thank you. Sean McGee and Dusty Johnson UAF
PD/CTC Law Enforcement Academy