Vol. 80, No. 3News notes

Male police officer stands with back to large group of seated seniors taking a selfie.

Seniors get safety savvy

S/Sgt. Daryl Creighton spoke to seniors about safety earlier this spring at a Savvy Seniors workshop in White Rock, B.C. Credit: Peter Williams, B.C. RCMP


In an attempt to fight back against victimization of seniors in a small seaside city in British Columbia, White Rock RCMP has partnered with the community to offer a Savvy Seniors workshop.

"If we can prevent one person from being defrauded or having a crime committed against them then our efforts are worthwhile," says Julia Everett, a crime prevention co-ordinator with the detachment. "But we hope that those who attended can help spread the word to others who might be at risk."

Nearly 100 people, aged 55 plus, attended the workshop, held on the mornings of April 5 and 6. Topics presented included fraud prevention, brain health, emergency preparedness and driver re-testing.

Everett organized the first event in 2016 as a way to help empower the community's seniors to speak up when they would normally stay silent.

"As a senior, you're a valuable part of our community," she tells participants. "We want you to be safe and we're here to help you if you need us."

Fraud cases are getting increasingly complex, especially in places like White Rock, where many people come to retire. According to Cst. Travis Anderson, an officer with the detachment's Community Policing Unit, fewer people are being victimized but the stakes have gotten higher.

"Fraudsters are going for more and more money these days," he says. "Before, if they got $100 out of somebody they'd be happy, but now they're really going for large amounts of money."

In White Rock, romance and telemarketing scams make up the majority of fraud cases where seniors are targeted, says Anderson, who spoke at the workshop about personal safety.

In addition to having money, assets and good credit, many seniors makes an ideal target group because they are more likely to be polite and trusting, less tech-savvy, and statistically less likely to report when they have been victimized.

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