To be safe at home and on the road, be street smart and follow the rules
Awareness equals safety, says Peter Mandelos, community police officer at Station 11 in N.D.G.
“There are certain crimes that can happen anywhere,” Mandelos says, citing one example in N.D.G. where a man and a woman offered an older couple help carrying their groceries. When they insisted on carrying the bags into the apartment, the seniors were too polite to say no.
“The woman distracted the residents by asking for directions while the man grabbed a wallet out of a purse. The couple, sensing something wasn’t right, finally told the intruders to leave, but it was too late, the money was gone.”
Mandelos warns seniors to be suspicious of calls or emails promising a cash prize. “They ask you to send money for taxes or administration fees before they can send you the prize.”
Victims of this scam hesitate to come forward for fear of being embarrassed, Mandelos says, adding that it is important to report to police if you’ve been victimized.
While waiting at a bank machine, wearing civilian clothes, Mandelos has been asked more than once by seniors for help punching in their PIN number.
“Sometimes the number is on a sticker in the back of the card,” Mandelos says. “If you can’t remember the number, at least keep it separate from the card.”
Police are giving out a pouch called Cash-Monnaie, which is meant to be worn out of sight. It should hold only essential items, including money, ID and medicare/hospital card. “Just call your local police station. It is free.”
While Interac can only be used if the PIN number is known, a credit card can be used by anyone, Mandelos says, urging people to carry as little as possible in their purses.
Mandelos is appealing to pedestrians to follow the rules of the road, in light of the result of a recent study showing that people over 50 make up 72 per cent of pedestrian deaths across Montreal.
“Cross only on the corner at traffic lights and be careful when crossing at crosswalks,” Mandelos says. “Not all the cars will stop.”