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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - It's not hard to find the city's rough spots. The Hyde Park community in North Memphis struggles with the type of decline, that breeds poverty and crime.
"The people here don't seem to have the wherewithal to fight against that," said the Rev. Melvin Lee of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.
Lee has led Macedonia Missionary Baptist for nearly a quarter of a century. He says some seniors in the congregation are intimidated by criminals that threaten their neighborhoods.
"If you were a person who were not able to keep yourself safe, you would probably have a sense of doing absolutely nothing," he said.
Not anymore. Recently, Memphis CrimeStoppers Director Buddy Chapman launched a new hotline, SeniorBSafe, which allows senior citizens to make anonymous tips about problems in their neighborhood.
Security for seniors -
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis
When a neighborhood deteriorates it seems that its senior citizens are disproportionately adversely affected.
That is especially true when it comes to criminal or rowdy behavior near their homes. Threats and fear of retaliation can make seniors prisoners in their homes, and such behavior often is allowed to continue unabated because seniors are afraid to call the police.
That is why E. Winslow “Buddy” Chapman, executive director of Memphis CrimeStoppers, started the SeniorBSafe program, which he called a first cousin to CrimeStoppers. The program is aimed at seniors who are enduring this kind of behavior because they are afraid to call police.
'BSafe' gives fearful seniors a weapon -
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis
Advocates for a new initiative hope to give elderly residents a silent weapon against neighborhood fear.
"Quite frankly, every indication I get is there's a lot of people out there who are afraid, confused or apprehensive," said Buddy Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers.
Chapman calls SeniorBSafe a "first cousin" to CrimeStoppers, which offers cash rewards for tips about criminal activity.
CrimeStoppers’ new initiative
targets seniors who are scared
CrimeStoppers has launched a new program to help senior citizens who feel erndangered or trapped in their homes due to crime or suspicious neighborhood activity but are afraid to make a report.
Called SeniorBsafe, the initiative is targeting the elderly who have been victimized but won’t tell authorities for various reasons, or who may be confused about what to do. Individuals can call a hot line operated by the Crisis Center and explain they are making a “SeniorBsafe” call, or they can seek help through a pastor or other trusted individual at their church or temple. The trusted individual will discreetly seek help from CrimeStoppers.
“This program is not meant to replace 9-1-1 emergency calls!” said Buddy Chapman, executive director of CrimeStoppers. “If someone is in immediate danger or believes a crime is being or has been committed, the person should call 9-1-1 on the spot.
“Our program is for those elderly who aren’t sure what to do but are fearful, and don’t want to have a police cruiser at the curb,” he continued. “We’re trying to help those who refuse to call the police and make a report, or who need help in some other way and don’t know where to find it.”
The SeniorBsafe hot line is 274-7477, or CRISIS-7.