Prevention is the best way to prevent theft, whether at home or on the street. Follow strategies such as not revealing too much information about our home and habits, going out with someone or not withdrawing large sums of money from an ATM.
The elderly are always an easy target for thieves, especially if they live alone, in remote or low-traffic areas, or in an ageing community. Therefore, in these and all other cases, it is advisable to take extreme precautions to prevent home thefts, and even if we have an alarm system, we should not err on trust. It is always better to be cautious than to regret it later.
How can elderly people avoid becoming victims of theft?
It is very simple if you follow these tips:
1. Do not give clues about living situations or habits: As we age, we should avoid divulging information about where we live, ourselves or our family, as this can be used to commit a crime. It is also inappropriate to announce someone’s absence – especially to strangers – or leave messages on the answering machine announcing their departure.
2. Please do not open the door to strangers: We should never open the door to strangers who call through the intercom, as doing so endangers our safety and that of other neighbours. When water, electricity or gas company operators knock on the door, we should ask them for acknowledgement. When in doubt, we can verify this by calling the company.
3. Choosing domestic helpers carefully: If we need a domestic helper or caregiver, we should ask for references or choose who we allow into our home before using them. If we do without their services and they have had access to the keys to enter the house, it is best to replace the lock cylinders after they leave.
4. A door with a peephole: doors should always have one so that we know who is calling us without having to trust a stranger who sneaks into the house. In addition, we should chain before opening, and it is worth having the phone handy, with the number of the police in the automatic call.
5. Protect easily accessible windows: if we live on the second floor, second floor or attic, it is important to grill the windows. We should ensure that the distance between the bars is at most 12 inches and that the bars are well anchored to the walls. Another way to increase security is to install shutters with internal locking on windows and balconies.
6. Please do not turn off the power when we are away for long periods: When we go away for several days, we sometimes turn off the electricity. Even if we don’t know it, something as simple as a doorbell being turned off indicates our absence and can trigger them to break into the house to steal.
7. Know the neighbours: It is important to know the neighbours and be alert if we see strangers on the porch. Also, it is always helpful to have someone you trust to pick up the mail, raise and lower the blinds or check the house’s condition if we are gone for a long time.
Guidelines to prevent robberies of the elderly at ATMs.
In the elderly, robbery is even easier to commit because they move more slowly and have fewer reflexes. We will give you some tips on how to avoid them:
1. Do not go to the ATM alone: When we are very old, walking the streets alone is no longer comfortable, and even less to go to the ATM without an escort. It is advisable to go with family members or a trusted person who will accompany us and keep an eye on the surroundings while we withdraw cash.
2. Prepare the card in advance: When we want to withdraw money from the ATM, it is convenient to prepare a notebook, debit, or credit card and hide it in our hands or pocket. In this way, we avoid having to open our pockets or purse.
3. Never use ATMs at night or in poorly lit areas: To avoid robberies as much as possible, especially if you are elderly, use ATMs during facility hours when employees are inside.
4. Use ATMs at facilities: Use ATMs inside the office rather than on the street. And lock them from the inside! Of course, be safe when entering your PIN and keep the money after withdrawing it before leaving the ATM.
5. Don’t withdraw large amounts of money in front of everyone: advice that applies to all ages but is even more important for older people. Make sure to withdraw large amounts of money from the ATM at once because they will take a lot of money with them if they get stolen. Also, it is convenient that no one sees the amount withdrawn.
6. Pay attention to whether there are people around: Before working at the ATM, look around carefully to see if you see any suspicious people. If we doubt certain people, we should not use the ATM at that time.
7. Do not accept help from strangers: If you have questions or problems using the ATM, you should always ask the bank’s staff, never someone just behind you in line or walking by on the street.
The best way to prevent theft is to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect your belongings. Keep your doors and windows locked at home, and don’t leave valuables in plain sight. When you’re out and about, carry your belongings close to your body and be aware of who is around you. Following these simple tips can help keep yourself and your belongings safe from theft.