by Corporal Kim Lopez, TRIAD Coordinator, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office

Are you armed with a plan? Do you have to tools to carry out that plan? Senior adults are target for many reasons. One line of thinking is “the older we get, the fatter the wallet”. Do you know a senior who carries way too much cash? Most seniors are not schooled on how career criminals target their victims. The Oklahoma County TRIAD covers each community with a one hour monthly meeting called SALT, namely Seniors And Law enforcement Together. We discuss crime prevention issues and face crime concerns head on. Many seniors think they will just scream, truth is, in a real 9-1-1 emergency, YOU CAN’T SCREAM.
Gone are the days of “Walk with confidence, and be aware of your surroundings” Todays seniors need a plan and the tools to carry out that plan. Seniors need to know the areas career criminals tell me they target potential victims. Seniors need to understand why, AND WHICH parking lots are more dangerous than others.
Gone are the days of, cross body purses, carrying cash, and talking on your phone while walking through parking lots.
Speaking specifically of personal attack, violent crime occurs every 22.8 seconds. ALL parking lots are dangerous, the parking lot you feel the most comfortable in is even more dangerous. When the home invasion is interrupted, when the drug deal goes bad, when the fight is on and police have been dispatched, CAREER CRIMINALS HEAD TO A PARKING LOT to get away from the police.
Which parking lots are dangerous? ALL PARKING LOTS ARE DANGERIOUS! Some more than others.
1.) The parking lot you feel comfortable in.
2.) 24 hour parking lots
3.) Hospital parking lots
Career Criminals want your car to get out of the area. If they commit a crime in a small town, they seek the big city, if they commit a crime in a big city, they seek a small town to get lost. They understand that crossing many jurisdictions in a wide variety of different vehicles makes it impossible for police to catch them. Driving only 20 minutes in any direction crosses many different jurisdictions. They change vehicles often and go from large bright color truck to small light color compact car to midsize SUV of some other color. Just walking to a white small car could make you a target. In TRIAD we tach senior adults to be prepared with a plan and tool them to carry out that plan. Simply carrying an extra set of old bait keys could save your life. For the most part, there are two demands: GIVE ME YOUR KEYS, GIVE ME YOUR GOODS! TRIAD seniors know to attach an extra set of keys to their good keys to show and throw, baiting the attacker away from them. Same goes for being ready when asked for GOODS, WALLET, or your WATCH OR PACKAGES. TRIAD Seniors know to be ready with two one dollar bills in a metal office binder or money clip, show it and throw it, is our motto!
When shopping, always get a shopping cart and never ever get your method of payment out at the register stall, get in the habit of going by the feminine products or underwear to get out your method of payment. Check yourself for any items you might get targeted for, turn jeweled rings around to look like a band, cover up watches with your sleeve, and never ever push your shopping cart into a register stall! You PULL YOUR SHOPPING CART TO ADD A 4 FOOT DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE PERSON BEHIND YOU. Many criminals mute their cell phone in order to get close enough to you to take rapid fire pictures of your method of payment. Cash sets you up for attack, writing checks lends account information as well a home address and name. Credit cards or debit cards ran as credit offer the best recourse. When entering a 4 digit pin number be careful not to WARM THE KEYS WITH YOUR FINGER. Use your car key or ink pen to depress the numbers. Using your warm finger leaves a heat signature to be detected by a heat sensitive camera up to two minutes after you walk away. If you must touch and warm the keys, simply use your first three fingers to warm all the keys before you walk away.
Way too many seniors are still carrying their check books, just the sound of ripping that check out of the checkbook acts as a beacon to call career criminals. TRAD seniors tear out 3 checks and keep them with their folding money! They also take their ID, credit card as well as cash and checks out of their purse and carry them on their person in a lanyard wallet. TRIAD men carry their wallet in their undershirt pocket.
Attach a whistle to your good keychain and carry your good car keys around your wrist with your bait keys in the other hand. Always have your cell phone ready to dial 9-1-1.
Practice range of motion in your neck and always watch for anyone approaching you!
Get a GEL pen if you insist on writing checks, this keeps criminals from WASHING your check and re-writing it for the amount you have in your account.
Change your direct deposit to deposit into your savings account and transfer to checking as you need it.
I stand ready to be of assistance,
Corporal Kim Lopez, TRIAD Coordinator, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office – 713-1920.
Come be a part of TRIAD by visiting a SALT Council meeting near you. Call 713-1950 and leave your name and address to get on our mailing list to receive a monthly reminder of the Seniors And Law enforcement Together meeting near your home.