The New Haven Police Department wants you to take an active interest in the welfare of your senior neighbors and to be on the lookout for people trying to swindle them out of their money.
Capt. Patricia Helliger brought that message to the Westville/West Hills Management Team at its monthly meeting Wednesday at Mauro Sheridan School. She asked neighbors to help her with a special police project to help the city’s senior citizens.
The project comes on the heels of New Haven detectives discovering that two women “caretakers” who had allegedly siphoned over $800,000 from a 73-year-old woman’s accounts over about a decade. Police officers got wind of the theft when they were contacted by the woman’s bankers. (Read more about that here.)
Helliger said the police department recognized after that case that the woman was victimized because there weren’t enough people paying attention. She’s been tasked by the city’s police chief with coming up with a program that might pair seniors with neighbors and the city’s youth. Helliger told neighbors that she’s looking at a program in San Diego as a model for what New Haven might be able to do.
The program, which is known as YANA (You Are Not Alone), provides uniformed personnel from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department who make phone calls and weekly visits to seniors who don’t have family nearby to regularly look in on them. (Click the video above to learn more about YANA.)
Helliger said the city doesn’t have funding for such a program but it might look at creating a trained group of volunteers who could provide a similar service. She’s been visiting senior centers and local senior housing like Mary Wade to meet with seniors about how to stay safe from scammers and others people who prey on the elderly and will be visiting more management teams.
“We need your ideas,” she said to neighbors.
If you have an idea you can reach Helliger at 203-668-8087.