A shocking report out of New York City this week reveals that violent crimes against elderly residents in the city “have skyrocketed” in 2016. But crimes against older Americans aren’t just a problem in New York — there’s been an uptick in crime against elderly citizens nationwide in recent years.
In NYC, people over the age of 65 are becoming more and more likely to become the victims of violent assaults, robberies and even murder.
Via The New York Post:
Slightly more than 1,000 people over 65 have been assaulted across the city through Oct. 31 — a 16 percent increase over the 863 old folks who were attacked in the same period in 2015, cops said.
Robberies also increased against the elderly, with a 6.5 percent jump so far this year from 348 to 371.
The total number of major crimes against the elderly is up 3.4 percent, with 5,027 against seniors compared to 4,862 in the same period last year.
The disturbing numbers have been illustrated by a number of high-profile attacks on older people, such the mugging of a wheel-chair bound 95-year-old woman in a Harlem clothing store in broad daylight in September.
Nationally, the growing trend of criminal victimization of Americans over 65 is less likely to involve violent crime.
In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that violent crimes against elderly Americans declined between 1994 and 2013 as did homicide rates for those 65 and older.
Elderly Americans living in heavily urban areas, however, face the highest risk of becoming the victims of violent criminals, a point well-illustrated by the NY Post report.
Unfortunately, crimes against Americans over 65 involving fraud and identity theft have skyrocketed throughout the nation in recent years.
According to a statement Sen. Chuck Grassley made before his colleagues in June: “Financial exploitation is the most widespread form of elder abuse, costing seniors in the U.S. between an estimated $2.9 and $36 billion annually. In fact, it’s been called ‘the crime of the 21st century.’”
“Across the United States, con artists reportedly are also using sweepstakes scams to steal money. A senior is called and told they have won some great prize or sum of money,” Grassley explained. “But before they can claim the supposed prize, the victim is required to pay taxes or processing fees. Once the money is paid to cover the taxes and fees, however, no prize ever materializes.
“Other instances of elder financial exploitation are more personal in nature and have especially devastating effects. Some victims are pressured into signing over a deed, modifying a will, or giving a power of attorney,” the lawmaker continued. “Americans have lost their farms, homes, and life savings to this form of fraud.”
Here are a few tips to avoid becoming the victim of the increasing tide of crime against older Americans (they include self-preservation tactics that Americans of any age should consider):
- Own a legal firearm, know how to use it and carry it whenever possible.
- Never give out personal financial information over the phone or online unless you initiated the transaction.
- Never trust or provide personal details to anyone who calls and says they need information on behalf of the IRS.
- Understand just how much of your money financial fraudsters are taking from your retirement accounts every day.
- Always be aware of your surroundings in public and wary of anyone who shows up at your door uninvited.
- Have a friend or a relative you can call and count on in an emergency.