There have been several incidents recently where burglars have prayed on vulnerable senior citizens to gain access to their homes, and that's one reason why Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Councilman Gary Hudes and the Department of Public Safety hosted a burglary prevention seminar at the on Jan. 6.
There have been nine “distraction burglaries” and attempted robberies in our area since Dec. 9, 2011, whereby criminals used various methods of deception to distract homeowners to gain access to valuables inside.
“Being cautious and alert can go a long way in safeguarding your home and your loved ones from criminals,” Murray said. “This seminar will be a valuable educational tool for our seniors so they can enjoy their golden years without fearing for their safety. Be prepared, not scared.”
The spate of “distraction burglaries” and robbery attempts are a disturbing trend with senior citizens as the main targets. The following are some tips for senior citizens to consider in an effort to avoid becoming victims:
- Install and use a peephole
- Never open the door to strangers and never let them know you’re alone.
- Ask for identification. If someone rings your doorbell claiming to provide a service and/or represent a company, organization or group, ask them to present identification. Get their names.
- Beware of phone scams: Don’t give personal or financial information over the phone. Hang up on nuisance callers and report them.
- Protect yourself from common types of consumer crimes, including medical and insurance fraud, sweepstakes scams, business schemes and unlicensed home repairs.
- If someone breaks into your home, do not confront the burglar. Lock the room you’re in and if you can get to a phone, quietly call law enforcement officials.
“If you don’t know someone at your door, don’t let them in,” Hudes said. “If you feel threatened or have been victimized by one of these crimes, immediately contact the authorities.”
“Awareness and education are keys to preventing unwelcome intruders from entering the home,” Murray added. “I encourage senior citizens, and all residents, to follow these important preventative tips. Remember, the best way to fight crime is to prevent it in the first place.”