Police provide safety tips to members at Mt. Vernon Senior Center

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 6:27 PM EST
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LORIS, S.C. (WMBF) - Members of a senior community in Loris are receiving some timely advice on how not to become an easy target for criminals.

Jennifer Williams, a manager at the Mt. Vernon Senior Center, invited the Loris Police Department to lead a safety event on Friday after receiving some concerning information from a member.

“One of the seniors was approached by someone in a parking lot,” she said. “We talked about how some of them are widows and singled so I reached out to the police department to get someone to come in and give us some education.”

The location reopened in early November with 16 official members at the location so far.

Safety education is exactly what Loris PD Lt. Larry Williams brought to the table. He said those participating in crimes are looking for an easy target.

He started off the event by answering members’ questions about crime and safety.

But one of the biggest takeaways Lt. Williams provided is what not to do so you won’t be an easy target for criminals, especially while out shopping around.

He says one of the easiest things to do to not become an easy target is to be alert and make eye contact.

“If I look at you-I can identify you right, so why are you not looking at people,” said Lt. Williams.

He added that a criminal will likely be looking for a person who appears distracted, which is why he recommends picking up your head and observing your surroundings before even getting out of your vehicle.

While getting out of your car, he says keep looking around and pay attention to your surroundings.

“If you look like you’re being observant, you going to have a less likely chance of being a victim,” Lt. Williams said.

Lt. Williams also said in the event someone you don’t know walks up to you in a parking lot and you don’t want to talk with them, he advises you to tell them you’re in a hurry and to get inside the building.

He said in some cases, you may need to be assertive in your delivery - and don’t dismiss your instincts.

There were also questions raised during the event about what to do if someone who’s considered a stranger comes on your property.

Williams explained that, by law, no trespassing signs can be legally enforced if there are four separate signs on each corner of the property where it can be seen regularly and accessible by people.

“However it only applies for people who are there for not a legitimate reason. So if they’re trying to sell you something, it can be argued they’re[at the property] for a legitimate reason,” he said.

Linda Johnston, a member at Mt. Vernon, said the event was very informative.

“I learned some things I didn’t know and some things I did know,” she said. “[I feel] somewhat safer, because now I know the signs to look for.”

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