City play designed to highlight distraction crime against OAPs
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Pensioners from Newry have written and performed an interactive play aimed at highlighting and tackling one of the most common crimes against older people in the district - distraction burglary.
The play Keep Safe, Keep Well is based on a recent distraction crime in the Dublin Road area of Newry when two men purporting to be Water Service engineers entered an elderly lady's home and robbed her purse and mobile phone.
It was performed in the Canal Court Hotel on Friday as part of Active Ageing Week and is hoped will raise awareness about distraction crime and how to avoid being a victim of it.
“Newry and Mourne Community Safety Partnership got in touch with us because we work with older people and said they were looking for a new way of getting information out to older people about this sort of thing," said Kerry Rooney, the creative director of Kaleidoscope, which runs the pensioners' Acting Up performance arts project in Newry.
“They wanted something to help older people engage with this subject. The group came up with a sketch that relates to an incident that happened in Newry recently." Following Friday's performance, the actors invited the audience to suggest ways in which the victim might have protected herself.
The actors then performed the drama for a second time taking on board the audience's suggestions and showing how by making a few simple changes the lady can protect herself and her home from crime, particularly distraction crime, which is one of the most common crimes against elderly people in the north.
Distraction crime can take many forms but usually it will involve one perpetrator distracting the victim while a second perpetrator steals their valuables. The crimes can take place anywhere; in shops, in the street or, perhaps most alarmingly, in the victims' own homes.
The group have also produced an information leaflet to go alongside their performance which include a number of important telephone numbers like the QuickCheck line which older people can use to check the authenticity of callers and the Police Service non-emergency phone number.
Mr Rooney said the play has so far been successful and that the group plans to develop further dramas highlighting other crimes and issues facing older people.
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