Residents At Senior Apartment Complexes Stand Up To Violence


UPDATED: Tuesday July 9, 2013 11:51 PM

A healthy dose of caution and suspicion is helping keep two senior communities safe.

William McClinton is the resident council president at Worley Terrace, a mid-rise senior citizen complex on the west side.

One of his jobs is to educate tenants on the need to look out for each other.

“I’m not going to have it any other way,” McClinton, 77, said. “We won’t tolerate anything suspicious. We’ll call the police in a minute.”

Margaret McCoy, who holds the same volunteer job at Jenkins Terrace in east Columbus said that seniors are a particularly vulnerable group.

“Number one, we can’t run. Our voices have gone back, so we can’t scream. And arthritis has got us, and we can’t fight,” McCoy joked.

Both complexes have elaborate security systems, including automatic locks on entryways, multiple peepholes on apartment doors and callboxes for visitors.

“You let no one in unless you know them,” she said. “If you let them in, it’s open. So, you’re responsible for their actions once they get into the building.”

There are 16 cameras at Worley Terrace, and they’re focused on various parts of the complex – from the community room, the parking lot, the exit doors and the stairwells.

But the system is only as good as the vigilance of the people who live there.

“A lot of people cuss us out,” McCoy said. “They get mad at us, but the policy is, you don’t unlock that door for anyone you do not know.”

The seniors said that is a good mindset for anyone to have, no matter where they live.

McClinton offered another tip for senior safety. He said seniors also should look behind and around when opening the door to their unit. He said it would not take much for a bad guy to push a person into their apartment, shut the door and rob them.

“And if you hear your neighbor in distress, call 911,” he said.

Worley and Jenkins Terrace hold monthly meetings with their tenants to discuss any security concerns and ways to improve personal safety.

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