Police Issue Safety Tips For Senior Citizens

December 27, 2013

Following the assault of a senior citizen earlier this week, the Police issued some safety guidelines for senior citizens including common tricks con artists use and ways to protecting your home and property.

This advisory was issued following the attack on Monday evening [Dec 23], which saw two men enter a Southampton home, make demands and hit an 84 year old man in his face.

I am sure that most people have read in the news recently about the senior citizen who was victimized by unscrupulous members of the community. Below are some simple tips to assist our seniors with their Safety. For more information visit here.

‘Con Artists’

Confidence tricksters or ‘con artists’ are people who pretend to be something they are not – usually in order to obtain money or valuables or to get you to do something that ordinarily you would not do.

Common ‘tricks’ include

  • [a] Knocking on your door and asking for a drink – this allows the trickster to enter your home to check out what is inside and to steal money and valuables when your back is turned.
  • [b] Knocking on your door and asking to use the telephone or to use the bathroom [for the same reason as ‘a’ above].
  • [c] Asking to borrow taxi money because the trickster’s vehicle has [supposedly] broken down [a common trick in Bermuda].
  • [d] Asking directions to the home of Mr. and Mrs.. [this may or may not be a genuine enquiry].
  • [e] Asking if you want any jobs done; for example, painting the house, gardening or cutting the grass.
  • [f] Pointing out that your home needs urgent repair work; i.e. scraping and repainting the roof, plastering or replacing timbers. Usually this is accompanied by a request for money up front [to buy the necessary supplies]. If you part with your money, you are unlikely to ever see it again – or the trickster!
  • [g] Two people working together. One person will distract you while the other enters your home behind your back to steal your cash or property.

Targeting Seniors

While it must be clearly stated that not everybody who comes to your door is intent on committing crime, the elderly are particularly at risk from confidence tricksters. Why should this be? Why are the elderly more vulnerable or gullible? The reasons are many and include the following;

  • [1] Most elderly people are less mobile than when they were young and are therefore more dependent on other people to help them lead a normal life.
  • [2] People who live alone are often appreciative of the interest shown by strangers who strike up a conversation with them and are more likely to let such people into their homes.
  • [3] Older persons are generally more trusting of strangers.
  • [4] Some seniors hoard their savings rather than banking their money, or they may keep their money at home because it is difficult for them to get to and from a bank.

Locking out thieves

Protecting your home and property should be your first priority. Start by making your home as secure as possible and follow the advice contained in the Police brochure ‘Protecting Your Home’. The brochure is available free of charge from all Police Stations.

You should pay particular attention to your main door. Ensure that this door is of solid construction and is in good condition. Install a good quality deadbolt lock and fit a door chain. If the hinges are on the outside [the door opens outwards], fit a pair of hinge bolts in the door frame on the same side as the hinges themselves. Finally you should install a peephole or door viewer at eye level.

Before Opening The Door To A Caller

Put your door chain on and check to see through your door viewer who the caller is. If you do not know the person, ask the caller to tell you his or her name and the nature of his business, and ask him to show you some form of identification.

Check the person’s identity card carefully. Genuine callers usually do not mind if the door is closed while this is done. If necessary, ask the caller to wait until you verify by telephone that the caller is the person whom he says he is, then telephone his/her supervisor. If you are still uncertain about the identity of the caller, ask him or her to come back later or another day and make further enquiries to confirm the persons identity.

Note: Police Officers, Census enumerators and service personnel, such as Belco and BTC employees, are all required to carry some form of photographic identification with them while on duty. See page 2 of the new telephone directory, which shows an illustration of the I/D card carried by Telco employees.

If In Doubt

If you have any doubts about the caller’s identity, try and get a good look at him or her and note down all that you can remember. In particular, try and recall what was different about your caller. What was he or she wearing and did your caller come by bike or car? You should then call your nearest Police Station and report your concerns.

Telephone Calls From A Stranger

If a stranger calls you and asks questions about you and your finances, be very careful what you tell him or her. Remember that Census enumerators will telephone first to make an appointment and then call at your home to ask questions – they will not ask about your personal details over the telephone.

You should never disclose information to a stranger about your bank accounts or finances. Likewise you should never invest in a product or company without first checking it out thoroughly. And finally, don’t be afraid to hang up if you are pressured over the telephone for more information or to give your caller money.


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Category: All, Crime, News

Comments (11)

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  1. swing voter says:

    my granny got a shot gun layin cross har lap while nappin in a rockin chair on har front porch door step ;-)

  2. X man says:

    How about an Alarm System system that is connected to the Police.
    and a small CCT Camera system – for those who can afford it.
    I know one Older Fella who made up his own Pepper Spray from
    Hot Peppers and a spray Jar.– it works

  3. get ya facts straight says:

    Yea how about we come out of the dark ages and let ppl protect themselves aginst burglers etc..you have all these punks and sex freaks on this island.why can a woman who is jogging by herself carry a can of pepper spray?why can’t an old lady living alone own a little tazer?anywhere else in the world its not an issue..tird world backwards counrty we live in..t

  4. bluebird says:

    We are always excited about “IMPORTING” Idea’s.
    How about Switzerland,they don’t have these same problems as when “ALL” young men enter the “REGIMENT” for a short period they are issued a “GUN” which they have to maintain at home for the rest of there lives.The GUN is issued by there Government.
    NO ONE enters or breaks into a house which has guns.The only Massacre’s in the United States has been in “Gun FREE Zones”

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      And in many states, you catch somebody inside your house, you can choot him.

  5. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    During WW 11 the French, Belgians, and Poles set up so called “trip wires”, These were silent early warning devices.

    I wonder how many homes here have similar devices.

    The Japanese were constructing “Booby Traps”.

    ” Trip Wire ” early warning systems are simple home made devices to put together using trip lines which can be attached to a multitude of early warning devices.

    Keep it simple ! Do not go to technical.

    Construct early warning devices only ” Do no Harm”
    You never know if your neighbor or friend has a real emergency.

    However ! for the technically minded all you need is a small car 12 volt battery; switch; electrical wire and connectors ; car or bike horn and some nylon fishing line, the down side is during the night or early morning a passing Cat / Burglar may set the thing off which will wake up all the neighbors.

    Now you have a bunch of angry neighbors at your disposal.

  6. paul says:

    Bermuda is indeed the Isle of devils,can someone tell me how to make pepper spray…. and can I put it in a used windex spray ?

    • Come Correct says:

      Paul, I could help you with that but you won’t get much range with a windex sprayer and I wouldn’t get caught with it unless you have a fish sandwich nearby.

  7. BermudaGirl says:

    The underlying sadness is that all of these self-defence methods even need to be entertained. Once upon a time, not so long ago, people rarely locked their front doors.

  8. paul says:

    Bermudagirl, it indeed has been a very long time since most people have left their doors open !!!!!!! at least in the last twenty years or so .

  9. BermudaGirl says:

    You don’t find that sad, Paul? When people could trust others? How do we get that back again? CAN we? As a people?