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Physical Disabilities Crime Prevention

A physical disability - impaired vision, hearing or mobility - doesn't prevent you from being a victim of crimes. Commonsense action can reduce your risk.

Look Out For Yourself

  • Stay alert and tuned into your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving or waiting for a bus.
  • Send the message that you're calm, confident and know where you are going.
  • Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.
  • Know the neighborhood where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants, or stores that are open and accessible.

At Home

  • Put good locks on all your doors. Police recommend double-cylinder, dead bolt locks, but make sure you can easily use the locks you install.
  • Install peepholes on front and back doors at your eye level. This is especially important if you use a wheelchair.
  • Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a front line defense against crime.
  • If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message (giving your name, address, and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.
  • Ask the Police Department to conduct a free home security survey and to help identify your individual needs.

Before You Go On Vacation

  • Plan ahead. If you are traveling by car, get maps and plan your route. Have the car checked before you leave.
  • Leave copies of the number of your passport, driver's license, credit cards, and traveler's checks.
  • Put lights and radio on timers to create the illusion that someone is at home while you are away. Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions. Stop mail and deliveries or ask a neighbor to take them in.

Out and About

  • If possible, go with a friend.
  • Stick to well-lighted, well traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an outside coat or front pants pocket. If you use a wheelchair, keep your purse or wallet tucked snugly between you and the inside of the chair.
  • If you use a knapsack, make sure it is securely shut.
  • Always carry your medical information in case of an emergency.
  • Consider installing a cellular phone or CB radio in your vehicle.

On Public Transportation

  • Use well lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers.
  • Stay alert. Don't dose or daydream!
  • If someone harasses you, make a loud noise or say, "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't work, hit the emergency signal on the bus or train.

Don't Let A Con Artist Tip You Off

Many con artists prey on people's desires to find miracle cures for chronic conditions and fatal diseases. To outsmart these con artists, remember these tips:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don't let greed or desperation over-come common sense.
  • Get a second opinion.
  • Be wary of high-pressure tactics, requests for quick decisions, demands for cash only , or high yield low-risk investments.

Take A Stand</>

  • Join, or help organize a Neighborhood Watch group. Make sure their meetings are accessible to people with disabilities. For example, do they need a sign language interpreter? Can individuals who use walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs enter the meeting place?
  • Work with local law enforcement to improve responses to all victims or witnesses of crime. Role play how people with disabilities can handle threatening situations.
  • Work with a rehabilitation center of advocacy groups to offer a presentation to schools and other community organizations on the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities.
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