In 2016, the New York Police Department (NYPD) released statistics revealing that crimes against the city’s senior citizens had been on the rise. More than 1000 people over 65 were assaulted across the city, which was a 16 percent jump year-over-year. Thefts had also gone up by 6.5 percent. This increased targeting of New York City’s senior citizens has urged the NYPD to launch training sessions to teach the elderly how to protect themselves from crime.
The initiative began on August 8, only days after a 77-year-old man was grabbed by the neck and thrown to the ground in the Bronx, outside a Chase bank in Foxhurst on Friday. He sustained minor injuries but refused medical attention.
NYPD officers are planning to visit senior citizens and provide them with safety training, hacks and tips. During their visits, the officers will be giving out anti-crime goodie bags packed with items, including a personal safety alarm that can be used in potentially dangerous situations and a pen to write checks that can’t be forged. There are about 20,000 alarms to be distributed during this initial launch of the program.
In the last NYC census in 2010, senior citizens (60 years old and above) accounted for a total of 1,407,635, representing 17.2 percent of the city’s population, 41.2 percent of which were males and 58.8% females. 85-year-old women were about double in number compared to 85-year-old men. However, a recent report from City Controller Scott Stringer says that the number of New Yorkers over 65 surged by 19.2 percent between 2005 to 2015 — more than triple the rate of growth for the population under the age of 65.
Three months prior to NYPD’s program, the Indian city of Shivamogga launched an initiative via its police department. Aasare (Literally translates to “Shelter”) is a project that ensures the safety of senior citizens living alone in individual dwellings across the city. In May, the department had 700 elderly residents registered.