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Hinsdale police, Eve Assisted Living partner to keep seniors safe

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 8:41 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Hinsdale police officer Mike Coughlin discusses ways to avoid fraud with Hinsdale residents Sept. 26 at Eve Assisted Living during an ice cream social and senior citizen safety discussion. (Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)

HINSDALE – Ice cream may have got them in the door, but it was an array of safety subjects that provided the toppings.

On Sept. 26, the Hinsdale Police Department (HPD) and Eve Assisted Living partnered up to offer education to seniors on how to stay safe, while also providing sundaes and root beer floats for an ice cream social.

One of the programs offered by the Hinsdale Police Department is You are Not Alone (YANA), which provides courtesy checks to senior citizens in town who live alone or are alone during the day.

“When we looked at the census in 2010 what we noticed was there were a significant amount of residents in Hinsdale living alone,” said Cindy Go, volunteer coordinator at the HPD, who started YANA about six months ago.

Go said seniors can fill out an application to participate, and once a week, she will call them to check in or provide updates on what's happening in the village.

Mike Coughlin, crime prevention officer at HPD, discussed how great a program YANA was, but also educated seniors on other opportunities HPD provides, including vacation watches for when residents go out of town.

Coughlin also educated the group of about 20 seniors on how to avoid scams. Coughlin said seniors are one of the most targeted groups because scammers believe they have money and that they're vulnerable.

“You don't know who's on the other side of the phone,” Coughlin said. “There are those who may call 1,000 people and wait for that one person to fall for it.”

All a scammer needs is a social security number and credit card, and that will lead to identity theft, Coughlin said. It's also important to follow the golden rule that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

“No one's ever calling me to say I won the lottery,” he said. “That's never happened to me.”

As for scammers coming door to door, Eve Assisted Living resident Bart Main wanted to know what he could do within the boundaries of the law to protect himself.

“I have a baseball bat that works pretty well,” Main said.

Coughlin said the only time you can hurt someone with that baseball bat is if someone is trying to hurt you or you are in fear of your life. Above all, he said help is never far away, especially in Hinsdale.

“The Hinsdale Police Department is always here for any assistance you need,” Coughlin said.

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