Victim Likelihood & Age


Studies indicate that the aged are more vulnerable to criminal activities, as compared to other age groups. This is because these people are socially isolated, always tend to live in rural areas, and have predictable behavioral patterns. The aged are also mentally and physically weak, and this is a great contribution to their visibility, making them vulnerable to crime (Fisher and Lab, 2010). Other scholars further denote that the elderly are vulnerable to crime, in circumstance when they leave their homes, and as a result, they are exposed to people who have a criminal intention.

Contrary to the belief of many people, the aged are people who are least victimized when it comes to index crimes, as compared to other age groups (Rothman, 2000). However, the aged are always vulnerable to robbery, fraud, and purse snatching. On the other hand, older people, who are under the care of home facilities, are vulnerable to emotional and physical abuse (Payne, 2000). This is because family members might fail to visit them occasionally, or the staff of home care organizations might defraud them of their belongings.

One of the major problems that old people suffer from is fear of crime. This problem is accelerated because of the various criminal reporting by the media, which always makes older people to have a perception that there exists higher rates of crime, while in the real sense, the crime rates are low (Fisher and Lab, 2010). Due to these perceptions in crime rates, and fear of crime amongst the elderly, the government is forced to fund studies on victimization, victim services, and prevention programs. Most prevention programs that the government always funds, includes neighborhood watches, public security education, external lighting, community policing, and home security services (Rothman, 2000).

Vulnerability of the aged People:

Physical Crime:

  • Because of a decrease in physical ability, and an increase in physical frailty, the aged are always vulnerable to physical injuries (Fisher and Lab, 2010).
  • It is based on this fact that the aged are vulnerable to the crime of purse snatching.
  • The aged will be unable to follow after the purse snatcher, who is most likely to be a young person. This is because, the purse snatcher might have more speed, as compared to the aged, and chances are high that the aged might get injured in case they resist the robbery attempt, and this is mainly because they do not have the strength to fight back (Fisher and Lab, 2010).
  • Other physical crimes that the elderly are vulnerable to includes,
  1. Rape
  2. Murder
  3. Home robbery/burglary
  4. Fraud or scams.

Financial Crime

  • The aged are always vulnerable to financial crimes, such as theft of their financial products. This normally occurs by people that the aged trust, or close family members. Other may be forced to create and sign a will, against their expectations and desires. The aged are vulnerable to these crimes, because they normally survive on a fixed income, which always does not reflect the rising standards of living (Fisher and Lab, 2010).
  • Due to poor vision also, the aged are unable to read or write, and on this basis, they may rely on a close relative or friend, who might defraud them, in case they bare writing a will, a cheque, or seeking to buy a product whose value they are unaware of (Payne, 2000).

Psychological Crime

  • The aged are always vulnerable to abuses from those people who are in charge of caring for them (Payne, 2000).
  • The aged are vulnerable to these abuses because they are always weak, and do not have money.
  • The aged are also vulnerable to these abuses, because they are dependent on family members for financial and physical support. This dependency makes them vulnerable to these abuses (Payne, 2000).
  • It is important to understand that statistics prove that the aged are always emotionally abused by their family members.
  • It is important to denote that physical abuses will always lead to stress and depression amongst the elderly (Rothman, 2000).
  • This is because they are unable to contain emotional and physical abuses, and hence return their mentality and psychology to a pre-stress level.

Programs of protecting the aged:

The Triad Program:

  • The Triad program began in 1987, when senior members of the police force, national sheriffs, and retired members of the American association came together for purposes of discussing methods and means of preventing crime (Payne, 2000).
  • A triad is formed, when the police department in a given locality agrees to cooperate with the elderly in combating and preventing the victimization of the aged population in the given locality.
  • These three groups are engaged in sharing resources, and ideas that would help remove the fears of the elderly. They also provide training programs that help the elderly to acquire skills that can help them gain protection from criminals, and those seeking to exploit them (Payne, 2000).
  • On this basis, a Triad program encompasses the police, the department of the sheriff, and the association of retired individuals (Rothman, 2000). It is important to denote that the main intention of the Triad system is to prevent crime, and offer assistance to the victims of crime, who are the aged.

Community Awareness Programs

  • Community awareness programs are aimed at creating a mutual relationship between law enforcement agencies and the surrounding communities. Under these programs, the community is responsible for providing information to law enforcement agencies, regarding any criminal activity that occurs within the locality (Fisher and Lab, 2010). The criminal activity under consideration is not only limited to a crime against the aged population.
  • Law enforcement agencies on the other hand will train members of the community on how to protect themselves, against criminals. Community policing is under these programs, and this is because the police and the members of the community cooperate in crime prevention strategies (Fisher and Lab, 2010).
  • It is also important to denote that the American Federal government has established a criterion whereby one police officer, is supposed to serve five hundred people. This is a criterion that most state governments meet, and hence it helps in effectively preventing crime, as well as apprehending people responsible for committing crimes against the aged (Rothman, 2000).

Other Programs:

  • Establishing neighborhood watches:

This involves creating neighborhood groups, responsible for looking after the community, and reporting any signs of crime within the community (Fisher and Lab, 2010).

  • Home Security Programs.

Training the elderly on how to make their homes secure, and the measures they need to undertake for purposes of becoming secure.

  • Vial for life programs:

This is a program aimed at taking crucial information to emergency medical personnel, regarding the health status of the aged.

  • Scams and Fraud programs:

This is a program that informs the aged on the various scams, and frauding techniques.


In conclusion, the aged are a very vulnerable group, and they require great protection by law enforcement agencies. These people are always unable to protect themselves, and this is because their physical bodies are always weak.

It is important to understand that in as much as the aged are vulnerable to criminal activities, the actual rate of crimes targeting the aged is smaller as compared to the actual rates of crime targeting other age groups.

However, despite a low crime rate targeting this age group, it is important for policy formulators to create a system that will effectively prevent crimes against the aged, and at the same time successfully prosecute criminals who are accused of committing crimes against these people. However, to achieve success in this issue, there is a need of the entire society involved in community policing, and collaborating with the police to identify criminals who pose a threat to the aged.


Fisher, B., & Lab, S. P. (2010). Encyclopedia of victimology and crime prevention. Thousand

Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications.

Payne, B. K. (2000). Crime and elder abuse: an integrated perspective. Springfield, IL: Charles

C Thomas, Publish

Rothman, M. B. (2000). Elders, crime, and the criminal justice system myth, perceptions, and

reality in the 21st century. New York: Springer Pub..

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