Being Aware, Prepared Advised

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Monday morning around 2:00 a.m., a Meridian woman in her 80's was assaulted in her home in North Meridian. She survived without serious injury and was able to give a description to police.

The attack is believed to be an isolated event, but it reminds us to be wary, but not fearful.

Lt. Dean Harper of the Meridian Police Department says one of the very best ways of preventing violent crime among senior citizens or anyone is to get to know your community and your neighborhood.

"In your neighborhood, you know who belongs and who doesn't," said Harper. "You know who's there to cut the grass and who's just riding through looking suspicious. If you see somebody like that, call the police. That's what we're here for."

At the Meridian Senior Citizens Center, people aren't scared; they're just prepared.

"I've learned to always look around me whenever I'm getting out of my car. Have my keys ready, have lights left on in my house," said Barbara Wells, director of the Senior Citizens Center in Meridian.

Even in the quietest neighborhoods, you still have stay alert. It pays to know your neighbors and have a list of contact numbers for all of them, and have a plan in case of emergency.

"It helps to have their neighbors involved," said Harper. "Be aware of who's at home and when people are moving around. Check on each other; make sure everybody's okay."

"Even if it's a neighbor's house, it's better to call and ask if things are okay rather than to say, 'I don't want to meddle,’" advised Bob Glaser of Foster Grandparents. "We don't meddle anymore and consequently, I think, people get hurt."

The National Crime Prevention Council suggests setting up a neighborhood watch or community patrol in your area, and always make sure your streets and your home are well lit. Together we can prevent crime one neighbor at a time.