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Age-old crime.

SINCE I BEGAN READING SECURITY MANagement in 1977, it has consistently reported on new developments in the field of security, and ASIS has grown and encouraged professionalism. While many of the new challenges that face security professionals concern terrorism and more sophisticated attacks on industry and commerce, some old, time-worn challenges continue to plague the unsuspecting and unaware and ultimately will affect the security professional. Among these is the vulnerability of the elderly to crime.

Early last year, with the introduction of the Elder Justice Act (S. 333 and H.R. 2490), Congress began to turn its attention to this problem. Among other things, the bill would authorize the Health and Human Services Secretary to award various grants, including grants for prevention of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It would also provide for reporting of crimes occurring at federally funded long-term-care facilities.

The proportion of the United States population age 60 years or older will drastically increase in the next 30 years as 77 million Americans approach retirement and old age. It is estimated that between 500,000 and 5 million elders in the United States are abused, neglected, or exploited, clearly a serious problem that receives scant attention.

These elders are targets of ordinary street crimes as well as of more sophisticated acts that convince them to draw their life savings out of banks and turn them over to clever, merciless strangers.

The impact of this growing problem on private security can easily be seen in the number of lawsuits addressing inadequate security in parking lots, nursing homes, and other places frequented by seniors. Identity theft with subsequent financial losses to credit card companies is another concern.

While the issue is crime against people, not businesses, it is clearly in the interest of institutional security personnel to become familiar with the problem and act appropriately on behalf of their own responsibilities and as good citizens.

The Elder Justice Act has not yet become law. It is certainly timely, and security professionals should become familiar with it.


Executive Director

Mississippi Elder Justice Center

Jackson, Mississippi
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Sullivan, Donald T.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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