Senior citizens hear crime prevention tips

Dougherty County DA Greg Edwards

Dougherty County DA Greg Edwards

ALBANY — Crime prevention tips aimed at senior citizens could just as well serve younger people, officials said Saturday at the Albany Ward II Town Hall.

City Commissioner Ivey Hines introduced Dougherty Circuit District Attorney Greg Edwards, the main speaker, at 10 a.m. Saturday for the audience of about 25 people gathered at the Albany Law Enforcement Center.

“Living in these times and with the upcoming holiday season, there is danger around us,” Hines said. “We have to live and not be afraid of anything, have pleasure and fun. The tips you will hear will work for you.”

With computer PowerPoint display problems, Edwards worked around the lack of screen illustrations by using his experience and a pamphlet to focus the talk.

Edwards said there were three rules in focusing on crime prevention — stay alert, know your surroundings and trust your instincts.

“A lot of times senior citizens find themselves being targeted for burglary, fraud and scams,” Edwards said. “You have had life experiences; you should trust your instincts.”

Pointing out that criminals look for opportunities and want to get through the crime quickly, Edwards said, “The average burglar takes eight minutes to get in and out of a home.”

Installing an alarm system is a great idea, Edwards said, but when one is not affordable, putting up a sign that proclaims the residence is secure and under observation can deter burglars.

Other tips against losing valuables to a burglar include, but are not limited to, using a bank safe deposit box for valuables, placing valuables in a fake cleaning powder can or another type of container that is available for sale for that purpose.

“There are cans with false bottoms and false electric outlets that are available at stores,” Edwards said. “They are out there for sale.”

A big crime-prevention tip stressed at the meeting was the camaraderie of neighbors. The best way to protect oneself as a senior citizen is to be a good neighbor. A “nosy neighbor” is actually a good neighbor.

“Know your neighbor,” Edwards said, “and know who goes through your neighborhood and who doesn’t belong. That is the key to being safe in your neighborhood.”

With support from Albany Police Chief John Proctor, Edwards said that if attacked it is better to not resist. The best thing is to remember details of what the attacker looked like, then write those details down as soon as possible for the police.

A booklet, “How Senior Citizens Can Prevent Crime,” was handed out at the meeting. It is available from the police.

The newest class of the Albany Police Citizens Academy has a few seats left for those interested in police methods and practices, said Phyllis Banks, police spokeswoman. Another firearms training course will be held on the laws, safety and practice of gun ownership Oct. 27. To sign up call the police at (229) 431-2100.

Other elected officials who also attended the meeting were Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Ward I City Commissioner Jon Howard.