By EILEEN MCCLORY
On the first Thursday in March, about a dozen people assembled in a room at 50 North to talk about senior citizen safety.
The seniors in the room joked with one another and laughed before the program started, even though they were there to talk about crime.
This is Triad, a partnership between the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, the Findlay Police Department and seniors, with the goal of reducing crime against the elderly.
The program is part of an effort by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said Beth Baker, crime prevention officer at the sheriff’s office.
She said the program is an important way to educate seniors about crimes that target them.
“We have savvy, smart seniors, but they’re alone, which makes them a vulnerable population,” Baker said.
The March meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, Baker mentioned some of the scams the sheriff’s office has seen, such as a romance scam where a local man lost nearly $75,000.
Crime Prevention Officer Brian White of the Findlay Police Department talked about some scams that have recently come up in the area, such as one where someone paid a fee for a rental property that was not for rent.
White also mentioned a recent rash of thefts from cars, and reminded seniors to lock their cars.
Then the officers stepped aside to allow the main speaker, Kevin Cullen, a local martial arts teacher at the Academy of Martial Arts Studies, to show seniors some basic self-defense moves.
Cullen told the seniors that a cane is an incredibly useful weapon. It extends your reach, he said, and it’s the only weapon you can take on a plane.
He also showed the seniors the correct way to punch.
Baker said while the Triad program has had some success, she and White have had problems getting the word out. The meeting also conflicts with the Brown Bag Lecture at the Hancock County Historical Museum.
But she’s getting some positive feedback, she said, and seniors who attend are bringing friends with them to the meetings.
“We have some wonderful people who come back every month, which shows we are doing something right,” Baker said.
Triad meets the first Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. at 50 North. The meetings are free.
Upcoming events will include an emergency planning seminar from the American Red Cross in April, and an overview of Hancock Area Transportation Services in May.