Senior Citizen Safety

Many older men and women fear crime even though their risk of being victimized is statistically low. However, seniors are more vulnerable to certain crimes such as purse snatching, mugging, and fraud. You can reduce opportunities for criminals to strike by being careful, alert, and a good neighbor.

How To Avoid Street Crimes When You Are Out And About

  • Do not carry large sums of money.
  • Try carrying a small change purse with only the money or credit cards necessary instead of a large handbag with straps.
  • Keep your wallet or change purse in an inside jacket or front pants pocket.
  • Do not display cash and other tempting targets.
  • Only carry what is absolutely necessary.
  • Utilize the "buddy system" by walking in pairs or groups whenever possible.
  • Stay alert and tuned into your surroundings.
  • Try to walk in a confident, relaxed manner.
  • Walk on well-lit busy streets. Stay away from vacant lots, alleys, or construction sites.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.
  • Make sure someone knows where you're going and when you expect to return.
  • If attacked, give up your purse or wallet. Don't risk personal safety for material loss.

Public Transportation

  • Board and exit at well-lit stops.
  • Don't fall asleep. Stay alert!
  • Hold on to your packages.
  • While riding the bus, trolley, train, or subway, sit near the driver if possible.
  • On the train or subway, wait near the ticket booth until ready to board. Pick a car with several people in it — do not enter an empty car.
  • Watch who gets on or off with you.
  • If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.

When You're At Home

  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
  • All exterior doors should be equipped with a 1" deadbolt (including security strike plate with 3" screws) and a 180° door viewer.
  • Install supplemental locks on all windows and sliding glass doors.
  • Never let strangers in your home without checking their identification. Call their company if you're not sure.
  • Use only your first initial in phone books, directories, and apartment lobbies. If you live alone, don't advertise it.
  • Hang up immediately on harassing or obscene phone calls. If the caller persists, call law enforcement and the phone company.
  • Don't keep large sums of money in your home.
  • Keep bonds, stock certificates, seldom worn jewelry, and stamp and coin collections in a safe deposit box.
  • Use Direct Deposit for Social Security or pension checks.


Con games and swindles are crimes over which people have total control. The keys to prevention are alertness to any offer involving money or property that "sounds too good to be true," awareness about the most common con games, and cooperation with law enforcement.

For Your Own Protection

  • Be suspicious of anyone who offers you a chance for quick and easy wealth.
  • Don't give out any information about yourself to people or businesses you don't know well.
  • Don't give any details about your credit cards or bank accounts to phone solicitors.
  • Don't give credit cards, checkbooks, or savings account passbooks to your housekeeper or caretaker.

However, if it does happen, please report it!