Garda Safety Tips for Older People
Believe it or not - older persons are less often the victims of crime than many of their younger neighbours. Cases of assault are infrequent, although we would all love if they never happened at all.
Older persons are, however, subjected to burglary and thefts as frequently as the rest of the population. A lifetime of experience coupled with the physical problems associated with aging can make older persons feel vulnerable and more fearful of becoming a victim of crime.
In this section we cover:
· Home Security
· Cash / Financial Security
There is no need to turn your home into a fortress. However, it is important to have good locks fitted to your windows and all external doors.
Lock all doors and windows every time you leave the house.
The Scheme of Community Support for Older People is run by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaelthacht Affairs and aims to improve the security and social support of vulnerable older people in their homes by providing grants towards items such as window locks, door locks, door chains, security lights socially monitored alarm systems (personal pendant alarms) and smoke alarms. To view list of local community and voluntary groups administering the scheme please click here.
Advice is available from your Garda Crime Prevention Officer. Just contact your local Garda Station and they will put you in touch with him.
Be a Good Neighbour
We recognise that one of the best means of crime prevention is a good neighbour. This is someone who will keep an eye on your home when you are away, and who will take care to make sure everything is well. Good neighbours are part of Neighbourhood Watch – join if you can. Once again if you have any questions about this, contact your Local Garda Station.
Cash / Financial Security
Be Careful with Cash
Remember that thieves want property, and particularly cash. Therefore, only have as much money in your possession as you require for your immediate needs.
There are lots of ways of paying bills without using cash. Advice on money matters is freely available from Banks, Building Societies, Credit Unions, Post offices etc.
Thieves often grab handbags thinking they contain valuables. Leave them at home. Carry sufficient money and any keys in an inside pocket.
Mind your Property
The Garda can advise you on how to mark property with your own property number. This makes it less attractive to thieves, and also easier for them to return it to the rightful owner when it is recovered
Door stop Crime
This usually involves crimes perpetrated by rogue traders, bogus officials. Criminals involved in this type of crime usually “cold call” to your door and use various tricks and offers to steal and obtain as much money as possible from you. They may try to sell you something, pose as a company official, seek payment for roof maintenance etc or have a story.
Be on your guard when answering the door to a stranger. Do not let anyone in until you are satisfied you know who they are and what they want. If necessary check their story.
Official organisations usually write a letter before they call, have you had a letter?
If you need to use the phone ALWAYS keep the door locked
Do keep your front and back door locked at all times
Do use your door chain
Do check identity cards
Do not keep unnecessary sums of money at home
Do not purchase in cash from doorstep callers
Do not employ cold callers to your door without checking bonefide and references
Do not leave strangers by an open door
Do not let work men do any jobs without getting more that one estimate