Protect your safety
Wisdom and experience
According to the statistics elderly men and women do not become victims of crime very often. But it does not mean that they should not know about all measures that can help them ensure personal safety.
Wisdom and experience are advantages of mature age.
Worse sight, hearing, mobility and lack of physical strength may on the other hand become disadvantage.
Solidarity with other people is a good ally, fear is a bad one.
Where is there a danger
The elderly can become victims of crime
- at home (in the flat, in the corridor, in the cellar);
- in the street;
- in public transport.
Behind the door of your flat
Home is a symbol of safety for each of us.
Statistics confirm the saying: Opportunity makes the thief. One third of thieves belong to the so-called spontaneous perpetrators who take a chance of a situation when people neglect elementary safety measures (open windows, unlocked doors, tools or ladder laying around, locker easily overcome). Visible installed safety systems (safety lock system, bars, panoramatic eyehole, double lock, massive door) discourage 70 % perpetrators from breaking in.
Therefore you should first of all make sure if all the entrances into your flat are well safeguard: main entrance, windows, dormer, balcony, doors leading to loft, garage etc.
Try and knock on the door frame is not hollow. If so, have them filled with concrete.
Panorama tic eyehole should be on every door together with installed safety chain and safeguard lock system.
It is good to put your name on the bell and door in plural (Novákovi, Beranovi etc.) or in masculine, especially in cases when a woman lives there alone.
If such measures are too costly for you, make an agreement with other tenants. You can get discount with bigger order.
Maybe even your family is thinking hard about Christmas and birthday presents for you. Why not to buy safeguard for your flat?
Unknown behind the door
Most people who appear behind your door have good intentions. This does not mean though that you can be trustful and careless. There are still enough of those who can deprive you of property or cause you harm and some try it even when you are at home.
Do not open the door until you are sure you know the person behind them. When someone calls you by your name it does not mean he knows you. He may have read your name on the card.
It happens that perpetrators of robbery get themselves false cards and make up a good reason to make you open the door (they are not feeling well, heating problem, check on a television connection, message or a telegram me, necessity to call for help etc.).
Do never let such people in, even if they look trustworthy. If their plead is necessary, ask them to come back with someone you know – a neighbour. If you have a phone, you can test if the institution sent someone to you. It is a good idea to put down telephone numbers for police, firemen, ambulance and neighbours.
In case of imminent danger, call for help out of a window. Ask the passers-by to come to your flat, tell them number of your flat and the floor. To draw their attention you can throw something out of the window. If the unknown behind the door does not come with good intentions, he will quickly disappear.
Be careful when contacting people through an advertisement (buy, sell, date, flat exchange etc.). Ask your friends to be present to your first meeting.
In the house
Set safety rules together with the owner of the house and other tenants:
- everybody will lock the main door;
- lights in the corridor, cellar and lift will always work
- neighbours will be helpful in case of jeopardy, they will call police in case property or health is on danger;
- nobody will let strangers in, they will ask who they are going to see;
- neighbours will have each others phone number so that they can inform in case of breaking in;
- seniors, women in the household and on maternity leave will check on safe leaving and comeback of small children.
In the street
Go to isolated places always with someone. Avoid risky places (parking place, places round pubs, clubs, discos, railway stations, metro stations, bus stops) after nightfall.
Do not carry bigger amount of money or expensive things on you. Keep safe distance from dark path ways and entrances into houses. Walk on the external side of pavement when walking round the corners.
Get yourself a pepper spray if it helps your feeling of disquiet and carry it in your pocket.
Be careful when shopping in a marketplace; never lose control over your pockets, bag and money.
Watch out when entering house. If there is a stranger close to you, you better not enter the house and wait. If you feel threatened, ask other people for help.
If it seems to you that someone is walking behind you, slow down or cross the street. You will see if your concern was relevant, if so ask other people for help.
In public transport
Safe place is always close to a driver and the door. Do not be shamed to address someone when you need help. Avoid crowded places. Hold your bag with your hand. You can prevent it from opening or whipping out. Some perpetrators do not hesitate and cut the bottom or side of the bag so that they can get everything quickly out.
The risk that you will become a victim is small. Keep thinking about behaviour, which may be dangerous.
You are careless if you:
- go to cellar, neighbour or take the dustbin out and leave the flat open;
- open to a stranger;
- boast with your valuables;
- invite people you just met to come and see you in your flat;
- do not look around before you withdraw money from bank machine;
- go out to park or isolated places after nightfall;
lend money to people you do not know well.
Violence in family
Some older people are exposed to violent behaviour from their family. It usually starts with temperate manifestation. Therefore do not tolerate restrictions and oppression. You do not have to tolerate racket (loud music, loud TV). Do not allow for you relatives to tell you:
You do not need anything any more; you are at home all the time anyways.
This is good enough for you.
Such behaviour changes into violence very easily. You have the right for protection, help and feeling safe in your family.
Check your fear
Older people are very sensitive to exposure to danger and to bad luck of other people. They often suffer with excessive fear, which controls their life.
Try and answer following questions:
- Do you often fear without reason?
- Do you take pills to manage fear of loneliness and darkness?
- Do you often talk about criminality with your friends?
- Do you live isolated because of your fear (you rather stay at home, you do not invite people, you have no activities outside your flat)?
- Do you panic over headlines in newspaper?
- Do you maintain your fear?
If the answer to most questions is yes, then fear influences your life. Do something to change it. Speak about it with someone from your family, friend, and doctor. Contact a help line. Avoid listening to news about crimes; do not watch detective and criminal films. Watch good news, read nice books and plan pleasant meetings.
Emergency call - 112
Bily kruh bezpeci
Bily kruh bezpeci (BKB) – provides free of charge, expert and discrete services to the victims and witnesses of crimes. Services are provided in six counselling centres. Look for help in the counselling centre in Prague or any regional centre of Bily kruh bezpeci.
Bily kruh bezpeci produced a sticker, which should be stuck on the inner side of your door. It will always remind you of the risk of opening to a stranger.
Život 90 – www.zivot90.cz
Author: Petra Vitousova
Copyright Bily kruh bezpeci 2005