There have been a number of robberies of vulnerable people reported to Avon and Somerset Police in the past few weeks in the South West; this is some advice on how best to look out for the more vulnerable members of our communities.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple 'hello' from a neighbour to make an elderly or vulnerable person feel less isolated and more safe.
If you're a family member, neighbour or carer of an elderly or vulnerable person, please help to keep them safe and independent by giving them some good advice and reminding them to think about their personal safety.
Top tips to keep elderly / vulnerable people safe:
Think about the time of day you are going out – earlier in the day, there are usually more people about and therefore less opportunity for a vulnerable person to find themselves alone on a quiet street. It's always best to be out in daylight if possible.
If you tend to carry cash with you, keep the amount you carry to a minimum – just carry what you absolutely need for this trip. Many elderly people often carry their week's pension with them in their purse or wallet, and if this is lost or stolen, it is significantly more distressing.
Stay aware of your surroundings – it's easy to become lost in your thoughts if your trip is routine and familiar. It's important to be aware of whether someone is acting suspiciously, walking particularly close to you or coming up quietly behind. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable, walk purposefully away, cross the road, go into a shop or a nearby house, or approach another passer-by.
If you need to do a bigger shop, consider getting your shopping delivered so you don't have to struggle, laden down with shopping bags.
It's important to stay as independent as possible, but shopping with a friend could make a nice change and make you feel safer.
Consider carrying a personal attack alarm – these are available for a few pounds from most hardware or locksmith shops or online. They usually have a key ring attached and, when the pin is pulled out, set off a loud, shrill alarm which can draw attention quickly.