Crime Prevention Tips for the Disabled

Disabled persons face many physical challenges which can make them vulnerable to would-be assailants who assume the disabled are incapable of protecting themselves.

If you are a disabled person or know someone who is, the following information may be helpful. Take your time to read and remember these tips. You may be able to prevent yourself or a friend from becoming a victim of a crime.

General Crime Prevention Tips

  • Know and avoid situations and locations that could invite crime, such as dark alleys, unlit parking lots, etc.
  • Decide what you plan to do in the event you are confronted - i.e., show confidence; scream, etc.
  • Consider your options in these situations and practice your responses often so that you can recall them in a real situation.

Home Security Tips

  • Consider having a peephole installed in your doors. Make sure you have the proper locks on doors and windows and use them while you are at home as well as when you are out.
  • Never open the door for a stranger. Always demand verification of the stranger's identity and the purpose of the visit.
  • Never tell a stranger calling by phone that you are alone or that you are disabled.
  • Plan an avenue of escape from each room in your residence in case of emergency, such as a break-in or a disaster.

Consumer Protection Tips

  • Always ask for identification from all door-to-door solicitors, and call their agency for verification.
  • Don't commit yourself to purchases or charitable donations over the phone. Ask the caller to mail the information to you so you can make an informed decision. If you are not familiar with the company or organization, consult the State Department of Consumer affairs or the Better Business Bureau.
  • Be sure to read and understand all contracts before you sign them. If your sight is impaired, have someone you trust read the entire document.
  • Beware of anyone who is offering products or services at a "once in a lifetime" offer.
  • Consider having your checks mailed directly to your bank to avoid mail theft or robbery.

Travel Safety

  • Whenever possible, travel with someone you know. There is safety in numbers.
  • Leave word of your plans - including your ultimate destination and estimated time of return - with family or friends.
  • When waiting for a bus, train, etc., wait in a centralized location near other passengers.
  • When riding the bus, sit as near to the driver as possible, particularly during late hours.
  • Keep your handbags and packages on your lap instead of the floor or the seat next to you.
  • Consider using travelers checks instead of carrying cash.
  • Be aware of those around you, particularly when exiting a bus or train.
  • If you have a speech or hearing impairment, always carry a card of communication symbols.

If You Become a Victim of a Crime

  • Get help immediately by calling:
    • The Police Department
    • A doctor
    • The Fire Department
    • The sheriff's department
    • A friend
    • A relative
  • Try to remember as many details about the assailant as possible, such as clothing, hair color, identifiable marks, etc.
  • Be certain not to destroy any possible evidence.