A physical disability - impaired vision, hearing, or mobility - doesn't prevent you from being a victim of crime. Common sense actions can reduce your risk.
- Stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings, whether on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, or waiting for bus or subway.
- Send a message that you're calm, confident and know where you're going.
- Be realistic about your limitations. Avoid places or situations that put you at risk.
- Know the neighborhood where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, restaurants, or stores that are open and accessible.
- Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Most of us have daily routines, but never varying them may increase your vulnerability to crime.
- Put good locks on all your doors. Police recommend double-cylinder, deadbolt locks, but make sure you can easily use the locks you install.
- Install peepholes on front and back doors at your eye level. This is especially important if you use a wheelchair.
- Get to know your neighbors. Watchful neighbors who look out for you as well as themselves are a frontline defense against crime.
- If you have difficulty speaking, have a friend record a message (giving your name, address, and type of disability) to use in emergencies. Keep the tape in a recorder next to your phone.
- Ask your police department to conduct a free home security survey and to help identify your individual needs.
Out and About
- If possible, go with a friend.
- Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through vacant lots, wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket. If you use a wheelchair, keep your purse or wallet tucked snugly between you and the inside of the chair.
- If you use a knapsack, make sure it is securely shut.
- Always carry your medical information, in case of an emergency.
- Consider installing a cellular phone or CB radio in your vehicle.
On Public Transportation
- Use well-lighted, busy stops. Stay near other passengers.
- Stay alert. Don't doze or daydream!
- If someone harasses you, make a loud noise or say "Leave me alone." If that doesn't work, hit the emergency signal on the bus or train.
Don't Let a Con Artist Rip You Off
Many con artists prey on people's desires to find miracle cures for chronic conditions and fatal diseases. To outsmart these con artists, remember these tips:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don't let greed or desperation overcome common sense.
- Get a second opinion.
- Be wary of high-pressure tactics, need for quick decisions, demands for cash only, or high yield low-risk investments.
Take a Stand!
- Join, or help organize, a Neighborhood Watch group. Make sure their meetings are accessible to people with disabilities. For example, do they need a sign language interpreter? Can individuals who use walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs enter the meeting place?
- Work with local law enforcement to improve responses to all victims or witnesses of crime. Role-play how people with disabilities can handle threatening situations.
- Work with a rehabilitation center or advocacy groups to offer a presentation to schools and other community organizations on the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1801 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20507
National Easter Seal Society
230 W. Monroe Street, Ste. 1800
Chicago, IL 60606-4802
Paralyzed Veterans of America
801 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc.
1660 L Street, NW, Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20036
U.S. Department of Justice
Office on the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Civil Rights Division
P.O. Box 66118
Washington, DC 20035-6118
202-514-0301 ADA Hotline
Tips for People with Physical Disabilities (.pdf format)