Sheriff’s Office offers variety of crime prevention programs for older adults

When it comes to safety and crime prevention, Deputy S. Jason Tarap of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office is a tireless advocate on the subject. He has dedicated a career to making sure county residents are highly educated on the topic—particularly, older adults.
“After 25 years in this job, I’m still passionate about our citizens and getting them enough information to deter their chances of becoming a victim of a crime,” he says. “It’s something that I believe in whole-heartedly, and every deputy here feels the same.”
While this article lists programs that the Sheriff’s Office makes available to all residents, they also take requests for programming based on specific needs of any group or community. “If you are a program director at a senior high rise or community center and have a specific issue that you’d like us to address, we can do that. In fact, when it comes to any request from the community, I can’t say no. I will go wherever anyone needs us at whatever time they need us.”
Allegheny County is fortunate to have one of the best systems of local, municipal law enforcement in the whole country, according to Allegheny County Sheriff William P. Mullen. “We will do everything we can to fight crime and protect our citizens,” he comments. “We are not aware of any community in the United States where local law enforcement is so community oriented and proactive as our borough, township and city police officers in Allegheny County. We [encourage] active citizen participation in our crime prevention efforts.” 

Crime prevention programs
The following programs are relevant to—and, in some cases, specifically geared toward—older adults:
Senior Safety: This program helps empower seniors to take a closer look at their lifestyles and become aware how they can lessen their chances of becoming a victim of a crime. Topics include being alert when out and about, making sure your home is safe and secure, watching out for con artists and getting involved with the community. This course can be adapted to fit any particular need of any senior group.
Crime Prevention for the Physically Challenged: This program instructs disabled people to feel less vulnerable when faced with a would-be assailant, including how to stay alert and tuned into one’s surroundings. It also explores ways to make homes safe from intruders, tips on how to plan ahead before going on vacation, and using public transportation.
Identity Theft: This presentation provides the actions recommended by law enforcement and the financial industry to help reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of identity theft.
Internet Safety: While the Internet is an enjoyable source of information, shopping and entertainment, it has hidden hazards. This presentation teaches how to surf the Web safely.
Seat Belt Safety: This presentation teaches the proper usage of seatbelts and the laws pertaining to seatbelts.
Carjack Prevention: This program promotes ideas on how to reduce the risk of being carjacked.
Auto Theft Prevention: A car is stolen every 33 seconds in the United States. In many cases, a car theft could have been avoided if the proper precautions had been taken. This program explores ways to help prevent a car theft.
Firearms Safety: This program educated adults about firearms safety rules, firearms for personal security, children and firearms, safe storage, theft prevention, firearms licensing and the consequences for misuse of a firearm.
Home and Business Security: This program explores ways to make your home or workplace a safer place. Low-cost, affordable suggestions are given on door and window security, proper lighting, safety hazards, placement of smoke detectors and general information on how to shop for alarm systems.

The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office is continually adding and updating its programs to meet the needs of county residents. To learn more or to schedule a program for your group or community, send a letter of request to Sheriff William P. Mullen, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Crime Prevention Division, 436 Grant Street, Courthouse Room 111, Pittsburgh, PA 15219; or call (412) 350-3205 or visit

Properly dispose of your unused meds through Project D.U.M.P.
The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office’s Project D.U.M.P. helps Allegheny County residents dispose of unused medications properly. To do so, call the hotline at (412) 459-5000 to schedule an appointment for an Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office evidence technician to pick up unwanted prescription medications at your home.
Properly disposing of unused and expired narcotic prescription medications helps to keep potentially dangerous substances away from individuals susceptible to drug abuse. A majority of prescription drug abusers report stealing opioid and narcotic medications like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, from their family and friends, Drug take-back programs like Project D.U.M.P. are among the safest options for disposing of unused prescriptions drugs. They should never be thrown in the trash, flushed down the toilet or left around the house for others to access.
By Gina Mazza
For Pittsburgh Senior News