Neighborhood senior citizens are arming themselves with crime prevention tips thanks to a new program created by a Dallas police officer.

“Some people will attach just because someone is old – they think that they’re easy prey,” says Janice Crowther, the Dallas Police Department’s senior citizen’s liaison officer.

Her free seminars teach seniors to protect themselves from robbery, telemarketing fraud and domestic violence, the three biggest crimes committed against the elderly.

Not only does Crowther spread the word about combating crime, but she comforts senior citizens who have already been victimized.

Part of her job includes reviewing each report filed in Dallas involving victimization of an elderly person and then calling each victim to see how they are doing, Crowther says.

“They’re ecstatic to hear that someone really cares about what happened to them and to have gotten a phone call,” Crowther says.

The program was implemented in October by Crowther and is the first of its kind in the Dallas area.

Crowther, who has been a police officer for the past 15 years, studied similar programs in large cities throughout the country before starting the Dallas program.

Crowther spent nine years as a patrol officer and saw crimes against the elderly on a daily basis.

“I got tired of taking names and picking up the pieces,” she says.

Now she is focusing on crime prevention and improving seniors’ quality of life.

“The work load gets heavy, but it’s worth every minute of it,” says Crowther, whose 10-year-old son often helps distribute pamphlets and visits with seminar participants.

“She is a very warm and caring person and very aware of what seniors face today,” says neighborhood resident Royanna Brix, who is director of senior programs for the YWCA’s Club Young at Heart.

Crowther is putting together the “Senior Citizens Pocketbook,” a purse-size booklet that will be available later this summer at no cost for seniors. The booklet will include a list of important telephone numbers and crime prevention information.

Crowther isn’t trying to scare seniors, she just wants people to be aware of what could happen and teach them how to steer clear of dangerous situations.

“I want them to think it’s possible it can happen to them,” Crowther says.

If your senior group would like a seminar, call Crowther at 670-4446. This is also a hotline number for seniors needing any type of assistance. If you have an emergency, Crowther says, please call 911.

News & Notes

HALLIDAY SPEECH PLANNED: The Greater Lakewood Shepherd Center celebrates its 11th anniversary with an 11th Birthday Bash Luncheon June 21 at the Lakewood Country Club, 6430 Gaston. The program begins at 11:30 a.m. Keynote speaker Ebby Halliday will reminisce about changes she has seen in 50 years of Dallas real estate and share ideas about the future. Tickets are $25 per person. For reservations, call 823-2583.

ARTHRITIS RELIEF: The Central YMCA, 4621 Ross, is holding a “Jolly Joints” Arthritis Aquatic Program. The program follows Arthritis Foundation Guidelines and is open to the public. Call 827-5600 or 231-7201 for information.

DART FEATURED AT LUNCHEON: Ridgewood Park AARP Chapter #3787 will meet June 27 at 10 a.m. at the Ridgewood Park United Methodist Church, 6645 E. Lovers. DART’s Jessica Lennon will be the luncheon speaker. Lunch cost is $1.50. For information call 827-6678.

FACIAL EXERCISES SEMINAR: Molly Johnson will be teaching facial exercises at a free seminar designed to help make your face look younger at 10:30 a.m. June 6 at the White Rock Senior Center, 9100 Diceman. Johnson recently finished a book on the same topic. For more information, call 328-4863.

FREE MAMMOGRAMS: The White Rock Senior Center will be providing free mammograms June 10. Call 328-4863 for an appointment and location of service.

HMO FORUM SCHEDULED: The White Rock Senior Center will hold an HMO forum for seniors June 11 at the center, 9100 Diceman, at 11 a.m. For more information, call 328-4863.