I don’t like to work. I have said this for years in presentations around the island. People laugh, thinking I am joking. I am not.

I am on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When a crime occurs and the victim is 60 years of age or older, the police page me and I drive down to the station to review the evidence. It is not fun there. They don’t have doughnuts and the detectives aren’t as funny as those on “Barney Miller.”

I have spent more than one holiday sitting at a gray metal desk reading police reports and eating old Halloween candy. But perhaps the biggest reason I don’t like being at the police station is that often, the crimes I am reviewing could have been easily avoided.

For example, a great percentage of the stolen car cases our office prosecutes are a result of seniors leaving the keys in the vehicle, or leaving the car running as they pop back into the house for something they forgot, or running into a store for a quick errand, only to find their car gone when they return.

Speaking of cars, please stop leaving credit cards and checkbooks in them. A drug addict’s favorite place to go shopping is in a parking lot. A left-behind wallet, purse or checkbook is a big payday for someone feeding a habit.

Also, lock the doors to your home. You don’t live in Mayberry with Aunt Bee. Many burglaries have been committed by persons who just open an unlocked door. Frequently, the criminal will not care whether or not someone is home or what time of the day or night it is. Simply securing your house deters unwanted strangers.

Speaking of strangers, don’t let them in! Many identity thefts, burglaries and assaults start with a homeowner letting in a person they don’t know. The man who says he is from the utility company and needs to check something — do you really know where he is from? Direct anyone needing to use your restroom to the nearest public facility.

My cautions may sound harsh; I have heard that because we live on a small island, aloha is a way of life. If that were true for everyone, tell me why crimes affecting the elderly have increased over 300 percent since I started the Elder Abuse Unit? If you don’t want to take simple steps to prevent yourself from being a victim of a crime, do it for me. I am tired of eating stale candy.

 


To report suspected elder abuse, contact the Elder Abuse Unit:
808-768-7536  |  ElderAbuse@honolulu.gov  |  
www.honoluluprosecutor.org

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