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Seniors and Crime Prevention. National Crime Prevention Council 2007–2008. Goal of This Presentation. To examine the various crimes against seniors and to look at what preventative measures can be taken to prevent them. Objectives. Review current data and future projections

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seniors and crime prevention

Seniors and Crime Prevention

National Crime Prevention Council

2007–2008

goal of this presentation
Goal of This Presentation

To examine the various crimes against seniors and to look at what preventative measures can be taken to prevent them

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

objectives
Objectives
  • Review current data and future projections
  • Review the demographics
  • Learn how seniors feel about crime
  • Examine the major crimes against seniors, including financial crimes, property crimes, violent crimes, and elder abuse
  • Learn what preventative measures seniors can take to stay safe

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

what do the data say
What Do the Data Say?

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

seniors today
Seniors Today
  • Seniors are a large demographic group.
  • An estimated 37 million Americans are 65 years old or older. That’s almost one in ten Americans.
  • This group constitutes 12 percent of the U.S. population.

Source: www.census.gov

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

older americans
Older Americans
  • Persons 85 years old or older
  • An estimated five million Americans fall into this age group.
  • This group accounts for two percent of the U.S. population.
  • Persons 85 years old or older are the fastest-growing segment of seniors.

Source: www.census.gov

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

more people getting older
More People Getting Older
  • Americans 65 years old or older are a fast-growing demographic group.
  • In 2011, the baby boom generation will begin to turn 65.
  • By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 72 million seniors. This is equivalent to one in five Americans!

Source: www.census.gov

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

more foreign born seniors
More Foreign-Born Seniors
  • Immigration and differences in fertility rates have increased the number of minorities, including seniors.
  • The share of foreign-born elderly is growing. Regionally, that share is now
      • 35 percent in the West
      • 10 percent in the Midwest
      • 28 percent in the Northeast
      • 28 percent in the South

Source: U.S. Census, Older Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2000

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

more seniors are non english language dominant
More Seniors Are Non-English Language Dominant
  • Older populations are more diverse linguistically; a large percentage are non-native English speakers.

Source: U.S. Census, Older Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2000

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

ethnic and racial distribution of older americans
Ethnic and Racial Distribution of Older Americans

Projected distribution of the population group age 65 and older, by race and Hispanic origin, in 2003, 2030, and 2050

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

predictions for seniors
Predictions for Seniors
  • Seniors will live longer. Eventual declines in cognitive and physical functions could make them more vulnerable to victimization.
  • Seniors may become less in touch with innovations and less aware of their vulnerabilities.
  • Services will require more flexibility and adaptation.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

seniors and crime
Seniors and Crime

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

fear of crime
Fear of Crime
  • Two-thirds of seniors believe they will inevitably be victims.
  • Many seniors 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 seniors say fear of crime has contributed to a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Source: Age Concern England (www.ageconcern.org.uk)

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

fear of crime continued
Fear of Crime (continued)
  • Older Americans demonstrate a higher rate of fear of crime than any other age group, despite having the lowest victimization rates.
  • Knowledge of their vulnerabilities and reduced self-defense capacities makes them more cautious.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

fear of crime continued15
Fear of Crime (continued)

Other reasons why crime prevention is important to seniors

  • 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.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

most common types of crimes against seniors
Most Common Types of CrimesAgainst Seniors

1. Financial crimes

2. Property crimes

3. Violent crimes

4. Elder abuse

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

financial crimes
Financial Crimes

These crimes include

  • Fraud
  • Scams
  • Identity theft
  • Healthcare fraud

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

financial crimes continued
Financial Crimes (continued)
  • Financial criminals generally seek to take cash, credit, credit rating, or other assets by deception.
  • 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 helpful.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

why are seniors targets of financial crimes
Why Are Seniors Targets 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.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

why are seniors targets of financial crimes continued
Why Are Seniors Targets 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 lives.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

why are seniors targets of financial crimes continued21
Why Are Seniors Targets of Financial Crimes? (continued)
  • 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 victims.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

fraud
Fraud
  • 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.” Or they may develop personal relationships with, and then prey on, individuals they meet in various ways.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

fraud continued
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.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

fraud continued24
Fraud (continued)
  • Older people are major targets—they 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.”

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

stealth
Stealth
  • The person takes or takes control of an asset without the victim’s knowledge or consent.
  • Stealth-based financial crimes include identity theft; pretext theft (in which someone enters a home on some pretext, such as asking to use the bathroom, then takes property or personal information); computer hacking (illegally accessing information on a computer); and similar criminal activities.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

stealth continued
Stealth (continued)
  • Stealth-based crimes are usually difficult to detect unless the possible victim monitors small personal property and financial status and bills closely.
  • Stealth-based crimes may go unreported because the victim may be unsure of whether or when a theft occurred.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

identity theft
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 number.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

how identity theft begins
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 information
    • 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

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

identity theft continued
Identity Theft (continued)

The criminal uses information to make a

purchase or obtain additional information about a person’s identity.

  • Social Security number
  • Bank account number
  • Credit card number
  • Driver’s license number

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

identity theft continued30
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 or mortgage
    • Declaring bankruptcy

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

discovering the theft
Discovering the Theft
  • Eventually the exploitation is discovered when the victim
    • Receives a bank statement with unknown transactions
    • 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

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

reporting and restoring the identity
Reporting and Restoringthe 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.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

reporting and restoring the identity continued
Reporting and Restoring the Identity (continued)
  • The victim should also file a complaint through the Federal Trade Commission registry at www.ftc.gov.
  • The victim needs to complete an affidavit of identity theft, available at www.ftc.gov’s identity theft section.
  • NCPC’s Guide for Consumers

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing financial crimes
Preventing Financial Crimes

If someone makes an offer that seems too good to be true, assume that it is too good to be true!

Source: NCPC’s Telemarketing 101

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing financial crimes continued
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.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing financial crimes continued38
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.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing financial crimes continued39
Preventing Financial Crimes (continued)
  • Make sure you get all bills and expected checks on time.
  • Criminals have been known to steal mail to steal your identity. Call the company if a bill or check is late. If it was mailed on time, call your post office and report postal theft.
  • Use a mailbox with a lock on it. Deposit your outgoing mail in a United States Postal Service mailbox.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing financial crime continued
Preventing Financial Crime (continued)

Don’t risk it, shred it.

  • Shred any material that you are throwing out that identifies you in any way—bank statements, extra copies of records, bills, letters regarding financial matters, and similar documents.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing financial crimes continued41
Preventing Financial Crimes (continued)

Know about your credit.

  • Get a copy of your credit report at least once a year to make sure that information is accurate and complete.
  • Every person is entitled to a free copy of his or her credit report from each major credit bureau each year.
  • Consider ordering reports on a staggered basis throughout the year.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

credit bureaus
Credit Bureaus

The three major credit bureaus are

  • Equifaxwww.equifax.com
  • Experianwww.experian.com
  • Trans Unionwww.transunion.com

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

order credit reports
Order Credit Reports
  • Three ways to order a credit report
    • Online at www.ftc.gov; go to Free Annual Credit Report
    • Phone the FTC at 877-322-8228
    • Mail to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

property crimes against seniors
Property CrimesAgainst Seniors

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

property crimes
Property Crimes

Property crimes against seniors include

  • Burglary
  • Larceny
  • Auto theft
  • Petty theft

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

property crimes continued
Property Crimes (continued)
  • More than nine in ten crimes against the elderly are property crimes.
  • Property crimes, not violent crimes, represent the highest share of crimes against those 65 years old or older.

Source: www.neln.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

property crimes continued47
Property Crimes (continued)
  • Property crime is any crime when money or valuables are damaged or stolen from a person, home, or business without direct personal contact.
  • 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.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing auto theft
Preventing Auto Theft
  • Lock the doors. Roll up the windows. Stay alert and check the surroundings.
  • Securing your car, even if you are parked in your driveway or leaving the car for just a minute, can be enough to discourage many would-be auto thieves.
  • Check the car and the area around it before you get in or out of your car.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing auto theft continued
Preventing Auto Theft (continued)
  • Consider installing tracking or security devices on your car.
  • Take part in car theft prevention programs that allow police officers to stop your car if it’s being driven during hours when you don’t normally drive.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing theft while shopping
Preventing Theft While Shopping
  • Empty wallets and purses beforehand of items you won’t need.
  • Keep packages out of sight in the car trunk.
  • Do not walk with your arms full of bundles that limit your line of sight or ability to respond.
  • Keep your wallet in a front pants pocket or inside your coat pocket.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing theft while shopping continued
Preventing Theft While Shopping (continued)
  • Keep purses closed and held snugly near your body.
  • Keep all receipts separate from purchases.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing property crime at home
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 walkways.
  • Trim shrubs.
  • Ask the police department to perform a security survey.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

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 seniorshas declined by more than 22 percent since 2001.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization 2003

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

violent crimes continued
Violent Crimes (continued)
  • Seniors 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 64.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing violent crimes
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 areas.
  • When going outside, go with a friend if possible.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

preventing violent crimes continued
Preventing Violent Crimes (continued)
  • Carry only the cash and/or credit cards that are immediately needed.
  • Don’t 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 you’re confronted by a robber, hand over your money or valuables. They’re not worth your life.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

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

Source: National Elder Abuse Incidence Study, 1996

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

elder abuse continued
Elder Abuse (continued)

These types of crimes include

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional or psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Financial or material exploitation
  • Self-neglect

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

possible signs of physical abuse of elders
Possible Signs of Physical Abuse of Elders

Although one sign might not indicate abuse, many of these are common.

  • Bruises, pressure marks, brokenbones, abrasions, and burns

Source: National Center on Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

possible signs of sexual abuse of elders
Possible Signs of Sexual Abuse of Elders
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression
  • Bruises around the breasts or genitals

Source: National Center for Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

possible signs of neglect of elders
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.

Source: National Center for Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

how to identify emotional abuse of elders
How To Identify Emotional Abuse of Elders

■ Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses is abuse.

  • Strained or tense relationships or frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person may indicate abuse.

Source: National Center for Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

slide63
You don’t need absolute proof to report abuse.

Even if you just suspect abuse, call for help.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

what to do about elder abuse
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.
  • Don’t be surprised if a friend denies abuse; remain in touch, concerned, and observant.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

what to do about elder abuse continued
What To Do About Elder Abuse (continued)
  • If signs persist, call the local office on aging affairs or the local police department. If you are uncertain, check with someone at your senior center or another friend.
  • Start an education campaign for older people in your community. Share information, arrange talks by professionals in the field, and set up connections to helplines that can advise seniors on preventing and reporting abuse.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

tips for elders
Tips for Elders

These are steps that will help you live healthier

and more safely.

  • Take care of your health.
  • Seek professional help for problems involving drugs, alcohol, and depression,

and urge family members to get help for these problems.

  • Attend support groups for spouses and learn about domestic violence services.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

tips for elders continued
Tips for Elders (continued)
  • Plan for your own future. With a power of attorney or a living will, healthcare decisions can be addressed to avoid confusion and family problems. Seek independent advice from someone you trust before signing any documents.

Source: National Center for Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

tips for elders continued68
Tips for Elders (continued)
  • Stay active in the community and connected with friends and family. This will decrease social isolation, which has been connected to elder abuse.

Source: National Center for Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

tips for elders continued69
Tips for Elders (continued)
  • Know your rights. If you engage the services of a paid or family caregiver, you have the right to voice your preferences and concerns. If you live in a nursing home, call your long-term care ombudsman. The ombudsman is your advocate and has the power to intervene.

Source: National Center for Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

tips for elders continued70
Tips for Elders (continued)
  • Stay involved and know your neighbors.
  • Join a Neighborhood Watch organization.
  • Get involved in the TRIAD group in your area. TRIAD is a partnership between the chiefs of police, sheriffs, and older and retired leaders in a community. This group is committed to reducing victimization and enhancing police services to seniors.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

how to report elder abuse
How To Report Elder Abuse
  • If you suspect that abuse has occurred or is occurring, please tell someone. Relay your concerns to the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or police.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

how to report elder abuse continued
How To Report Elder Abuse (continued)
  • If you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you are not alone. Many people care and can help. Please tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member you trust, or call the Eldercare Locator helpline immediately.

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

how to report elder abuse continued73
How To Report Elder Abuse (continued)
  • You can reach the Eldercare Locator by telephone at 800-677-1116.
  • Specially trained operators will refer you to a local agency that can help. The Eldercare Locator is open Monday through Friday,

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Source: National Center for Elder Abuse, www.elderabusecenter.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

resources
Resources

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

ncpc online resources
NCPC Online Resources

Visit NCPC at www.ncpc.org for information on Elder Issues

  • Crime prevention brochures
  • Full-text publications online
  • Catalyst newsletter archives

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

other online resources
Other Online Resources
  • Statistics on Seniors: U.S. Census Bureau (www.census.gov) and Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics (www.agingstats.gov)
  • Fear of Crime: Age Concern (www.ageconcern.org.uk)
  • Financial Crimes: Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov)

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

other online resources continued
Other Online Resources (continued)
  • Elder Abuse: National Center on Elder Abuse (www.elderabusecenter.org)
  • Crime (General): National Association of TRIAD, Inc. (www.nationaltriad.org)
  • General Information on Seniors: AARP (www.aarp.org) and the U.S. Administration on Aging (www.aoa.dhhs.gov)
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service (www.ncjrs.gov)

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

the national crime prevention council
The National Crime Prevention Council

2345 Crystal Drive

Suite 500

Arlington, VA 22202

202-466-6272

FAX 202-296-1356

www.ncpc.org

National Crime Prevention Council 2007

presenter contact information
Presenter Contact Information

National Crime Prevention Council 2007