October is National Crime Prevention Month

It’s unpleasant to imagine that your loved one might become the victim of crime, but it’s worth considering. There are valuable preventive steps to take. Unless your relative lives in a high-crime neighborhood, their greatest risk is a property crime in or around their home. In fact, older adults experience thirteen times more property crime than violent crime. Home invasions and theft are the main concerns.

Secure the perimeter.

  • Install motion detection lights and test them often. Light is an excellent deterrent to those who mean no good. Be sure the front and back doors are particularly well lit.
  • Put gravel on walkways. It’s difficult to sneak up quietly while walking on gravel.
  • Consider installing a video camera at the front door. One that allows those inside to view out before deciding to open the door.

Lock up the house. With the increasing boldness of home invasions, encourage your relative to keep windows and doors locked, even during the day.

  • Exterior doors should have deadbolts, with a peephole or video camera for viewing anyone at the door.
  • Inside, install a solid bar lock, much like they have at hotels, so your loved one has the option to open the door slightly without letting someone in. (Chain locks are too flimsy.)
  • Have them bring their phone in hand when they answer the door so they don’t have to look for it to call for help. If your relative has a personal medical alert pendant, they can use that in an emergency.
  • Train your relative to ask for ID before letting a stranger inside. Even if they say it’s an emergency, call the company to verify employment and the purpose of the visit.
  • Add plexiglass or security film on windows if your loved one lives in an area where break-ins are common.
  • Ensure curtains or blinds are closed at night and thick enough to block the view of activities indoors.
  • Have your relative keep valuables in a safe and vehicle keys out of sight. Home invaders are looking for easily available, expensive items to grab quickly.