Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crooks like It Easier, Seniors Told

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crooks like It Easier, Seniors Told

Article excerpt

ORANGE PARK -- "Travel light," was Darin Lee's advice to older

adults during a safety awareness workshop recently.

"Why give what you have to the bad guys?" said Lee, a crime

prevention officer for the Clay County Sheriff's Office,

speaking about crime prevention for older residents.

If you carry only what you need in your pocket -- not in a

purse or wallet -- Lee said there's less chance it will be

stolen.

Lee pointed out that criminals pick victims who give them the

least trouble, just as they break into houses with easy access.

"Don't make it easy for the bad guy," he told the Orange Park

chapter of the National Association of Senior Friends, which is

sponsored by Columbia Orange Park Medical Center. "Always be

aware of your surroundings. Think about what might happen and

decide ahead of time what to do if someone tries to make you a

victim."

Lee advised the group of about 35 in the Senior Friends meeting

room on Park Avenue to walk confidently and make eye contact

with those they meet.

He also cautioned them not to "look like a million dollars"

when they go out. Expensive jewelry, clothes and purses

advertise that you have a lot to steal, he said.

Lee cautioned older adults not to be too cautious.

"Don't become paranoid," he said, "just become prepared."

Irving Saari, an Orange Park retiree who attended the workshop,

said he enjoyed Lee's presentation and would recommend the

workshop to friends.

"I've found myself being more careful since I heard it," he

said.

Saari compared Lee's presentation to driving classes for

seniors. "It's a good review," he said, adding that even when

you know some of the material, it helps to be refreshed.

Other safety tips Lee offered were:

When at home, keep your doors locked and your garage doors

closed. Never let a stranger into your home, even to use the

telephone. Instead, offer to make the call for him. …

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