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Author: Age Cymru
Published on 14 November 2012 10:00 AM

Age Cymru wants Wales's new Police and Crime Commissioners to address the crime and community safety concerns of older people.

Fear of crime is leaving older people isolated and afraid to go out at night and many crimes are going unreported because older people are worried about what will happen to them if they speak to the police.

Our Equalities Policy Advisor Martyn Jones says:

“Research shows that our use of space changes as we get older and we spend more time in our homes and local communities, which can influence the nature and heighten our fear of crime.

“Older people who suffer from antisocial behaviour and those who live alone can be particularly anxious and fearful about their personal safety.

“This is why it is vital that the new Police and Crime Commissioners understand the reasons why older people are worried about crime and address those issues appropriately."

Age Cymru has published a guide for candidates who are standing in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections which take place tomorrow (15 November).

The guide deals with older people’s priorities for local police services and includes calls for action on crime that disproportionately affect older people.

Our calls for safer streets are echoed by Diana - a widow who is in her seventies from South Wales.

We have changed Diana's name to protect her identity.

She lives alone in the house in an inner-city suburb of Cardiff that she moved into with her husband and children 47 years ago.

Says Diana:

“There’s this block of flats for the elderly near my house.

“Over the years the people from the flats passed away or moved into care homes, so around about 2004 the council started moving younger people into there.

“A lot of them had drug or alcohol problems and almost overnight antisocial behaviour and crime in the area skyrocketed.

“We had people fighting in the streets, throwing stones and breaking our windows and our next door neighbour has had her tree burnt down.

“Our bins were stolen and set on fire, cars have been vandalised – they did ours twice and scratched obscene words into the paint, and I once event caught someone selling drugs on my lawn.”

The local community decided to fight back and Diana and her neighbours worked with her local police through PACT meetings (Police and Communities Together).

“When the police chased the troublemakers, they’d run through the alleys round the back of our houses and it made many of us feel vulnerable.

“We worked with the police and the council and eventually managed to get cast-iron gates installed on the end of the alleyways and the gates put a stop to that.

“But despite this, and everything else we’ve managed to have done around here, I am still afraid to go out after dark – if I need milk, and it’s dark, I just go without and wait until the morning.”

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444