Crime prevention for people with physical disabilities
Look out for yourself
- Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, or waiting for a bus.
- Send the message that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going.
- Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.
- Know the neighborhood where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, restaurants or stores that are open and accessible.
- Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Most of us have daily routines, but never varying them may increase your vulnerability to crime.
- Put good locks on all your doors. Sturdy deadbolt locks are best. Make sure you can easily use the locks.
- Install peepholes on front and back doors at your eye level.
- Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a front-line defense against crime.
- If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message (giving your name, address and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.
- Ask the police department to conduct a free home security survey to help identify any security concerns.
Out and about
- If possible, go with a friend.
- Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket. If you use a wheelchair, keep your purse or wallet tucked snugly between you and the inside of the chair.
- If you use a knapsack, make sure it is securely closed.
- Always carry your medical information, in case of an emergency.
- Consider installing a cellular phone in your vehicle or always having one on your person.
Before you go on vacation
- Plan ahead. If you are traveling by yourself, get maps and plan your route. Have your vehicle checked before you leave. Leave your itinerary with someone.
- Leave copies of the numbers of your passport, driver's license, credit cards and travelers checks with a close friend or relative in case you need to replace these papers.
- Put lights and a radio on timers to create the illusion that someone is at home while you are away. Stop mail and paper deliveries or ask a neighbor to take them in.
On public transportation
- Use well-lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers. Sit by the driver.
- Stay alert. Do not doze or daydream.
- If someone harasses you, make a loud noise or say, "Leave me alone". If that doesn't work, hit the emergency signal.
Don't let a con artist rip you off
Many con artists prey on people's desires to find miracle cures for chronic conditions and fatal diseases. To outsmart con artists, remember these tips:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don't let greed or desperation overcome common sense.
- Get a second opinion.
- Be aware of high-pressure tactics, need for quick decisions, demands for cash only, or high yield, low-risk investments.
(Reprinted from a brochure from the National Crime Prevention Council)