From a law enforcement
perspective, criminal acts can usually be divided into two specific categories:
those that stem from an emotional involvement necessary for "crimes of
opportunity." There are three components necessary for crimes of opportunity to
be committed; intent, ability and opportunity. If any of the three components
are missing, the crime simply does not occur.
What can you do to
prevent becoming a victim?
- In the obituary columns of most
newspapers, information such as name and community of surviving family members,
and time and location of the funeral arrangements are listed. That practice,
although helpful to the reader, sometimes creates additional vulnerability for
- Ask a friend to stay at your
home during times you will be attending funeral events. If no one is available,
consider asking one of your neighbors. In many cases, they are looking for
something they can do to help you during this time.
- Leave your car parked in the
driveway and ride with someone to the funeral events.
- Do not stop , mail or newspaper
deliveries. Ask a neighbor to gather the mail in your absence.
- Telephone answering machines
can become effective crime prevention tools. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use it to screen your calls.
Pick up the phone after you reconized the caller's voice.
- If you are a female living
alone, consider having a male voice record your message. A dog barking in the
background of the recorded message may also be deterrent.
- Use "we" instead of "I" on your
- Avoid telling the caller you
are not home now. That enhances the chance of your home being
Avoid Scams Targeting
- Criminals often target families
who have recently lost a loved one. Be careful not to become too trusting of
stranger. There are countless cases where confidence scams and swindles are
perpetuated against trusting people during these emotional times.
- One of the most effective crime
prevention techniques involves "slowing the process" down. Asking specific
questions and having another family member or friend involved in decision making
- Never pay bills on behalf of
the deceased unless you can verify the transaction actually took place. Bogus
invoices are often sent to the home of the deceased, assuming that the
individual handling the estate will simply write the cheque.
- Never answer questions from
strangers calling on the telephone claiming to be doing genealogy research or
verifying information printed on a birth or death certificate. Identity thieves
can use this to perpetrate crimes.
- Never allow home improvement
contractors into your home to begin a project that they claim was
contracted/initiated by your loved one prior to their death.
- Never open your home to
coin/stamp collections or estate sales representative to do an appraisal of the
deceased's valuables. Reputable businesses will never "cold call"prospective
clients during these times.