SENIOR citizens need to be better protected as they are more vulnerable to criminals and syndicates.
They also become victims of crime because of their weaker physique and more trusting nature,
In several cases, roadside robberies and snatch thefts involving the elderly have led to severe injury and even death.
The latest incident took place in Seri Kembangan on Dec 13, where an 83-year-old woman died a few days after she was robbed and assaulted by four foreigners in her house around 9am.
On the same day, four people, including two senior citizens and a toddler, were found dead in their house which was burnt to the ground, near a Chinese temple in Tanjung Sepat, Kuala Langat.
Police reclassified the case as multiple murders following evidence discovered at the scene, which included the slash wounds on three of the victims.
On Nov 27, a senior citizen on her morning walk at Taman Tambun Indah, Nibong Tebal, was robbed of her jewellery worth RM200 by two men.
It is therefore crucial to protect our seniors as the Statistics Department’s projection shows that Malaysia will be an ageing nation by 2030, with 15% of the population classified as senior citizens.
In 2015, there were 2.8 million senior citizens out of the country’s population of 31 million.
Malaysians are now living longer, their life expectancy being around 72 years for men and 77 for women.
Knowledge of crime prevention methods can help senior citizens recognise potentially dangerous situations and take action to reduce or remove the risk.
So it is necessary to encourage self-defence and enhance crime prevention skills among the elderly.
For example, it is vital that they do not fight back as they can easily sustain serious injury, or even death, by resisting.
Remain calm, try to memorise the assailant’s appearance and call the police immediately.
Criminals are now employing various tactics through social media to deceive senior citizens into joining get-rich-quick schemes or to establish fake relationships online.
Apart from losing their valuables and money, victims may also suffer from mental stress.
We should teach senior citizens who live alone to take safety measures, such as ensuring that all windows and doors are always locked.
They should also contact their family members or neighbours if they suspect something amiss.
Family members could play a key role by constantly updating their elders on the latest crime trends and modus operandi by scammers.
During the recent Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) exco meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, I had proposed that the police set up a special division to handle criminal cases and other issues affecting senior citizens.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the police were fully aware of the increase in crime involving senior citizens and would beef up existing divisions and units to handle such cases.
The police and other relevant agencies and non-governmental organisations should hold more awareness campaigns and crime prevention seminars specifically for the elderly.
The nation’s senior population is growing quickly, so we need to ensure that seniors who have contributed so much to the country are safe at all times.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF)