The Victimization of the Elderly in America




Ferguson, David

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Americans are living longer lives than ever before. Criminals are often taking advantage of this and are targeting the elderly in their criminal enterprises. These offenses run the gamut from assault, theft, and identity theft to name but a few. As the number of senior citizens grows (Brandon 2012), police departments should make the investigation and prosecution of crimes against the elderly a high priority. The elderly often fear being victims of violent crime, which, in turn, can make them more susceptible to other offenses such as fraud or identity theft. This is often compounded by the fact that many older Americans are more trusting and are often homebound and eager for conversation regardless of whom it is from. These factors as well as less awareness of the need to protect personal information often makes the elderly prime targets of con men and scam artists (Jordan 2002). There are many approaches police departments could take in helping to protect the elderly. They could train older consumers on what to watch out for when speaking with strangers in person or on the phone. Civilian employees could initiate home visits to check on the welfare and safety of homebound citizens. When offenses are committed against the elderly, police agencies and district attorneys’ offices could make the investigation and prosecution of these offenses a higher priority. These are just a few steps departments could use to show the citizens of their community that the welfare of their elderly is the highest priority.



Aged -- crimes against, Police services for the aged