CHENNAI: Since May, the city has witnessed 10 murders of senior citizens. In most of these cases, the killers were persons known to them and had committed the crime for gain.
In fact, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics suggest that every fourth murder reported in the State in 2013 was of persons aged above 50 and the State had recorded 1,936 murders during that year, of which 442 were above 50.
The city had witnessed as many as 201 murders in 2013, of which 15 were murders for gain, and that works out to 7.5 per cent of the total number of murders reported in the city that year.
This year, after the murder of 82-year-old psychologist Emma Gonsalves, there were a number of murders of home-alone senior citizens in quick succession, the latest ones being those of sexagenarian Babu and his wife Shanthi (Poonamallee), and 75-year-old Alamelu (Moulivakkam) as recently as Monday. Alamelu was found strangled to death with her nine sovereigns gold chain that she was known to wear, missing.
A senior police official told City Express that in most of these cases, the perpetrators were close relatives of the victims. And senior citizens, often gullible and unassuming, willingly allow the perpetrator into their home, not realising the danger that could follow.
“We have been advising them to exercise caution and holding meetings regularly to sensitise them, as to how they can ensure their safety,” the official added.
He added: “We tell senior citizens to keep little money which is required for day-to-day expenses and for emergency. The rest of the money and other valuables can be stored in a bank safety locker. They should keep the locker keys at the home, safely in places known only to the family members,” the official said.
Apart from spreading awareness among the elderly in the city, every police station has been maintaining ledgers containing details of senior citizens in their jurisdiction.
“Senior citizens should enroll themselves with the registry for their own safety,” the official said.
B Nandakumar, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Anna Nagar, who recently chaired a meeting for the elderly residing in the jurisdiction of the Anna Nagar Police District, said that they were creating awareness among senior citizens on a regular basis. This included those living in flats and independent houses as well.
“We have advised our personnel to keep in touch with elderly people and to provide them whatever help that is required, including buying them medicines and even paying electricity bills for them.
“The police personnel will even get them essential groceries in times of need,” he said.
To avail help from police officials, one needs to register with the nearest police station, following which the jurisdicttional officers will visit them in frequent intervals and provide them assistance round the clock.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES SUGGESTED BY COPS
Hire servant maids and drivers only after a thorough background check
Install bright lights outside the residence
Maintain the garden if any, in order to spot the movement of strangers in the vicinity
Install grill gates for extra security and lett in strangers only after learning the purpose of the visit