Supporting older crime victims through services and advocacy

By Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging.

New Yorkers of all ages should feel safe in the communities they helped build over the years. That’s why I will be joining the New York City Department for the Aging’s Outreach Team along with the NYPD as we distribute informational materials across the City for National Night Out Against Crime on Aug. 6.

Every day, our Elderly Crime Victims Resource Center supports and guides victims as they seek compensation for out-of-pocket expenses and as they interact with law enforcement, local courts, mental health professionals and others. In each borough, we partner with community-based providers to deliver services close to home in many languages.

Through the ThriveNYC mental health initiative, the City of New York has also created the Crime Victim Assistance Program with the NYPD and Safe Horizon, which places an advocate in every precinct to better assist victims.

Walking on a street alone, taking the subway or sitting in the privacy of one’s home is what New Yorkers do every day. Yet we increasingly hear about older adults being victimized during these daily life activities. They are being targeted for assault, robbery, financial scams or neglect by people they may or may not know. These crimes are unacceptable and outrageous.

We are all aging! As a society, we need to own that fact. We must protect and respect the rights of generations that have come before us, not allow them to be treated as prey. 

If you are an older crime victim or know an older victim, please contact our Elderly Crime Victims Resource Center at 212-442-3103 or call 311 for more information.

Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez is commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging. Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, she served in executive leadership roles with AARP, EmblemHealth and other organizations. She also served as New York’s first Latina Secretary of State.

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