LawThe killing of seniors in New York is rising

The killing of seniors in New York is rising

In New York, the elderly folks are frightened about the consistent increase in crime against seniors. Some have become unwilling to return to senior centers, others have signed up for defense classes hoping to be able to defend themselves. While many have insulated themselves to avoid being attacked.

“This is everybody’s worst nightmare,” said Jack Kupferman, 67, president of Gray Panthers NYC, an organization that grew out of a movement to fight ageism.

“When you look at who’s getting attacked, it’s often older people,” said Allison Nickerson, executive director of LiveOn NY, an advocacy organization for older New Yorkers.

Apparently, criminals are targeting this class of people “because they are perceived as having or actually have little defense,” Nickerson said.

Support services in New York

The Department for the Aging in New York has initiated a pilot program with police that connects older crime victims with support services.

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Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration is working on a “master plan on aging,” a broad-based effort still in the early stages.

According to Greg Olsen, director of the state’s Office for the Aging, the “safety needs of older adults” will be “an integral piece” of the plan. The ruthless and cowardly nature of crimes against people who are defenseless because they are isolated, deserted, or less able to defend themselves has those who work with older Americans calling on public officials to define such incidents in even stronger terms — as hate crimes.

Before the pandemic, there were 300 to 500 people coming daily to the four centers run by the New York Chinese-American Planning Council, said Wayne Ho, its president and CEO.

Those numbers are at 50% now,” he said. “People still come for free lunches, but many usually pack food into containers and quickly leave,” Ho said.

In the Bronx, centers that used to draw 150 people a day, now get 70 to 80, said Katherine Martinez, president and CEO of Neighborhood SHOPP, a Bronx organization that runs programs which serve more than 2,800 older New Yorkers.

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“We want people back,” Martinez said.

She said the centers are working with police, hoping to create and stimulate trust between officers and older New Yorkers.

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