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Reassurances for elderly after murder

PUBLISHED: 16:56 17 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:02 03 March 2010

THE murder of a vulnerable old lady in her own home, will strike a chill through the hearts of many other pensioners.

But a Suffolk organisation today moved to reassure the elderly, and re-issue safety advice, in the wake of the police opinion that the terrible crime was a 'one-off.

THE murder of a vulnerable old lady in her own home, will strike a chill through the hearts of many other pensioners.

But a Suffolk organisation today moved to reassure the elderly, and re-issue safety advice, in the wake of the police opinion that the terrible crime was a 'one-off.'

The charity Age Concern today reissued safety advice, and moved to reassure people that this type of crime is very unusual.

Age Concern Suffolk's chief executive Daphne Savage said: "We need to reassure people that this kind of crime is thankfully very, very rare, but people should always remember to think about security of their home.

"We have been advising people on how to deal with bogus callers which are more common at this time of year, but I don't think people should get anxious, only take sensible precautions."

She said a quick telephone call to their local council, or Age Concern's helpline on 01473 257039 would enable residents to find out what type of locks they should have fitted to doors and windows, and advise on other security measures.

Mrs Savage added that the Care and Repair agency in Ipswich, Help the Aged, or a handy person service (ring the council for details) was able to fit the locks.

She said police crime reduction officers would give home security talks to groups of senior citizens or individuals.

A spokesman for Help the Aged, said the elderly were often targeted by burglars because of their

vulnerability.

He said the average age of bogus caller victims was 78, with more than three-quarters of these victims being female.

Older people are particularly singled out as targets for heinous crimes for a number of reasons:

N They have regular habits, collecting pensions for example

N They are perceived as being easier to dupe, particularly due to their trust of authority

N They are more inclined to keep cash and valuables in the home

N Their age affects their ability to fight or flee a bogus caller.

The British Gas Help the Aged Partnership currently supports four Handy Vans that deliver and fit home safety and security products to older people.

The British Gas Help the Aged Partnership currently supports eight Senior Link bogus caller pilot schemes across the country. Senior Link is a 24-hour response centre that offers advice to users and immediate connections to emergency services

Living Alone Safely is an advice leaflet that looks at some of the problems of living alone and the practical steps that can be taken to overcome them.

Copies of the leaflet are available by sending an SAE to: Information Department (LAS), Help the Aged, 207 - 221 Pentonville Road, London N1 9UZ. Leaflets are also available from Help the Aged shops


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