STOCKTON, CA - Violent crimes against the elderly are on the rise in Stockton. Police said there were 1,652 cases of violent crimes against senior citizen since January.
"We had two break-ins at our home. One of the parties came in with a shotgun," said Harold Miller, who lives in the Ashburn neighborhood.
Miller and a dozen other seniors attended a crime prevention seminar by the police department Tuesday afternoon. Half of the seniors in attendance said they were victims of a crime.
"The elderly people and young children are usually easy targets because the target of opportunity is right there," said Det. Joe Silva.
Silva said dozens of people have had their gold jewelry ripped right off their bodies in recent months. One woman in her eighties was robbed of her gold chain while she gardened in front of her own home last month. Police recommend citizens to not wear expensive jewelry, display or advertise products or possessions that could be enticing to criminals.
"I should have the right to wear the jewelry I want and not feel threatened when I walk down the street in the middle of the day," said Patti White, a senior wearing a gold and pearl necklace.
"And yet, I'm aware when I put it on that perhaps today will be the day someone wants to grab it off my neck."
Street robberies are just a fraction of the crimes. Police said 515 seniors had their homes burglarized in the past six months. Just last week, an 84 year-old woman living in a gated property was brutally murdered and possibly sexually assaulted.
"When we moved in to the neighborhood it was real nice," said Miller. "I don't know what happened. Lately, we've had robberies in stores, gunshots into one lady's house. There's been a lot of trauma in that area."