Thursday, September 18, 2008

Civilian Police Academy Notes - Seniors

What I'm reading: Smoke Screen, by Sandra Brown

What I'm writing: Chapter 23

First -- There's a new contest on my website. I have some chapter booklets with the first chapter of my December release, WHEN DANGER CALLS. I'll be giving away three of them -- these are the ARC version, unedited with the ARC cover. For details and how to enter, go to my website

Last night, our Civilian Police Academy Alumni meeting featured Laura Lang, who's responsible for running programs to protect our seniors. She shared some fascinating (and often scary and depressing) information about what's going on in our country. I'll be recapping what she discussed over the next few days -- or as long as it takes.

Some of the boring statistics:
Each day, for the next 30 years, 9000 people will cross into the "senior" category.
In Florida, the fastest growing segment of the population is the 100+ set.

There are 6 basic categories of Abuse:
Mental, Physical, Sexual, Exploitation, Neglect and Self-Neglect.
86% of all abuse is performed by family members.

Beware the stereotype of seniors as old and infirm. Ms. Lang told us that she speaks to senior groups all over the area. One of her recent visits was to a group where the requirements to be admitted were: Over 86 years old. Male. Own a Harley.

Another side note: In the last 6 months, there has been a 40% increase in crimes committed by seniors.

In addition to abuse, there are scams and frauds. While not limited to seniors, these people are especially vulnerable because they grew up in a more trusting time.

Florida has the second highest senior population in the country, and this doesn't count transients (we call them snowbirds) who maintain their legal residence up north somewhere.
There are efforts to follow Texas' Silver Alert legislation. This would be the senior equivalent of an Amber Alert.

Interesting tidbit on safety:
Women are told to carry their purses with the strap going not just over the shoulder, but around the neck, and in front of their bodies, so they can't be stolen. However, those who are serious about grabbing a purse will grab the strap and pull backward, dragging the victim down. They often do this from their moving vehicles. There's not much one can do about that if the purse straps don't break. Ms. Lang sees countless seniors with broken ankles, hips and arms, not to mention 'road rash' from such attacks. Thieves are looking for credit cards and SSNs. She said the cops know if cash is taken, the perpetrator was probably 13 or younger. In fact, she recommended not carrying a purse at all, but to take only what you need for a specific excursion and to carry it in a deep front pocket. Not sure I could manage that -- first, I'd need a whole new wardrobe. Most of my clothes don't have pockets like that.

More tomorrow. And into next week, I think.


Peg Brantley said...

Great post, Terry. I got a bit of a chuckle regarding Florida's fastest growing population segment.

Thanks for the information.

Shelley Munro said...

Crime against older citizens seems to be growing in NZ as well. At the moment there is some creep going around in a car. He stops to ask for directions and says he can't hear them. When they step closer to the window he grabs them. He's put a 87 in hospital this week.

Terry Odell said...

Glad you stopped by. Senior Abuse is worldwide, not just a problem in the US.