We are all very fortunate to live in such a safe community where major crime is not typically an issue. Our area has the luxury of safe schools and neighborhoods, something that many other parts of the country wish they could experience. Unfortunately, we must always keep our guard up since crime can strike at any time, regardless of location. With the start of the New Year, I would like to offer some precautions that can be helpful for all of us, and especially senior citizens, to help ensure everyone’s safety.
It is extremely crucial to be aware of your surroundings while walking, especially when getting out of a vehicle at night. Always check to see if you are being followed, and cross the street if someone suspicious is behind you. If you are forced to continue crisscrossing the street, do not be afraid to run. Always maintain a secure grip on your purse by holding it in your palm and up close against your body. Avoid dark shadows and bushes by walking as close to the curb as possible. Never take a shortcut, especially through backyards, school yards, parking lots and alleys.
While driving, it is best to travel on well-lighted and populated streets, with your windows up and doors always locked. Your wallet or purse should always be tucked away out of view in the glove box or under a seat. At traffic lights or stop signs, keep your car in gear and, if your safety is threatened, sound the horn and drive away as soon as possible. If someone in another car is following you, pull over to the curb on a populated street to see if the car passes. If it is still following you, drive to the nearest place for help, such as a gas or police station. At night, always park in a lighted area. Most importantly, never leave your keys in the car regardless of how long you will be away from it. Always lock the car and take the keys with you.
There are also several precautions we can take within our homes to ensure greater safety. Women who live alone should only list their initials and last name in telephone books and on mailboxes. Always lock doors during the day, regardless if you are in the house or if you leave for any period of time. Ask for visitors to identify themselves before allowing them to enter your house, and use the chain bolt while checking their identification. Lights are a great way to protect the property; leave some lights on at night and change their location occasionally. Have the main doorways to the home properly lighted and also have your keys ready to enter. If a stranger asks to use the telephone, offer to make the call for them. If a door or window is broken while away, never yell out or enter the home; immediately go to a neighbor’s house and call the police.
I hope this information has been helpful to the seniors throughout the community. We can never be too cautious in these types of situations since crime can affect anyone.
For more information on this issue, contact my district office at (585) 225-4190.