Almost half of older people more fearful of crime

Photographed with DOJ Permanent Secretary Nick Perry are Valerie Adams and Michael Monaghan from Age Sector Platform

Almost half of older people here feel more fearful of becoming a victim of crime compared to two years ago, according to new figures released by the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament.

The finding has prompted the update and re-launch of a popular ‘Feel Safe’ guide for older people today.  First published in 2015, the guide received widespread acclaim and has now been updated with information on new schemes like Quick Check 101 and the Nominated Neighbour scheme; whilst also providing additional advice on how older people can become more ‘scamwise’.

Over the last few months, Age Sector Platform held eleven ‘local pensioners parliaments’ across Northern Ireland; one in each council area, with almost 900 older people taking part.  At each parliament, the PSNI and Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) were in attendance, answering questions on local crime and distributing information on crime prevention schemes.  Interactive questions were posed to delegates at the events on many issues, including fear of crime – with 42% confirming they felt more fearful compared to two years ago.

Valerie Adams from Age Sector Platform commented: “We know that the number of crimes committed against older people is relatively low, but fear among the older population is still a problem that needs to be tackled on an ongoing basis.  When an older person becomes a victim of crime it can have a much longer lasting effect on them and older people within their local community.  Anything we can do to help older people protect themselves from becoming victims in the first place will be time well spent.”

“The updated Feel Safe guide is a fantastic resource for older people and it’s very easily read and digested.  It’s unique in that it has been developed for older people by older people and features crime prevention advice on everything from burglary to internet crime; information on what to expect from the police, and details of organisations that support older people who feel fearful or have become victims of crime.”

“We are delighted that the Department of Justice has provided the support to allow us to update the guide and print thousands more copies for older people across Northern Ireland.  The PSNI and local PCSPs will help in distributing the guide, alongside other partners like Victim Support NI and befriending schemes across the province.”

Permanent Secretary of the Department of Justice, Nick Perry, said: “We strive to have a community where everyone respects the law and each other. The work of organisations such as Age Sector Platform helps us in our aim.  I congratulate everyone involved in the production of the ‘Feel Safe’ guide which offers advice and guidance to help older people feel safe in their home and community.”

To download a copy of the ‘Feel Safe’ guide, visit www.feel-safe.org.uk.  To request a hard copy, contact the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) in your local council or phone the police on 101 and ask for your local Crime Prevention Officer.