Research has shown that older people are less often the victims of crime than many of their younger neighbours. They are, however, subjected to burglary and thefts as frequently as the rest of the population. A lifetime of experience coupled with the physical problems associated with ageing, can make older people feel vulnerable and more fearful of becoming a victim of crime. As we know the resulting fear of crime can have negative effects on quality of life. It is therefore imperative that the needs of older people are being met with regard to policing, security and safety.
An Garda Síochána’s Older People Strategy was launched on the 28th September 2010, underpinned by the National Model of Community Policing and the Diversity Strategy, complementing existing support structures and communication processes already in place.
The Older People Strategy focuses specifically on:
- The development and maintenance of effective communication links between An Garda Síochána and older people
- The delivery of a timely and effective proactive response by An Garda Síochána for older people
- Actions to increase trust and confidence by lessening the fear of crime amongst older people, and
- Indicators to determine and respond to the needs and expectations of older people on an ongoing basis.
Since the launch of the Strategy we have produced a range of Crime Prevention material, specifically designed to meet the needs of older people. These are available in the Crime Prevention section at www.garda.ie.
Security for Older People Crime Prevention Leaflet
In line with the Older People Strategy, the Garda Community Relations & Community Policing Section redesigned and produced the ‘Security for Older People’ Crime Prevention leaflet in 2012. This was distributed to each Garda Division in addition to an electronic version posted on the Garda Website (both in English & Irish).
In addition to generic personal and property Crime Prevention advice the leaflet focussed on the following areas:
- Home Security.
- Distraction Burglary.
- Cash/Financial Security.
- Con Artists/Scams.
- Security Outdoors.
- Elder Abuse.
“Stay Safe at Home” Door Hanger
A ‘Stay Safe at Home’ door hanger has been produced by the National Community Policing Office. A supply of these have been made available to Community Gardaí for distribution to older people (as well as others that could be considered vulnerable) within their communities.
Practical Safety tips are printed on the back of the door hanger:
- Fit a door viewer
- Fit a door chain/limiter
- Keep front and rear doors locked at all times
- Number your house clearly
- Be careful when answering the door to a stranger
- Always check identification
- Do not keep large amounts of cash in your home
Community Times E-Newsletter
The Garda Community Relations & Community Policing Division publishes a quarterly Crime Prevention e-newsletter, “Community Times”, for the information of our partners representing programmes such as Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch.
Each issue provides up to date information featuring developments, news and events in Community Policing from around the country, and includes examples of good practice and crime prevention advice. The
e-newsletter can be viewed and downloaded from the Garda Website (both in English and Irish).
In addition to supporting traditional Crime Prevention programmes, we are constantly examining new and innovative initiatives to respond to the needs and expectations of older people. We are currently engaged in a number of initiatives such as The Age Friendly Counties programme, promoting collaborative approaches amongst statutory and non-statutory agencies, Senior Citizen Information Crime Prevention events and the Prime Prevention Ambassador programme.
Article submitted by:
Garda Ian Leslie
National Liaison Officer for Older People.
An Garda Síochána
Community Relations & Community Policing Division.