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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | COUNTYWIDE

Anti-Crime Effort for Seniors Feted

September 30, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

A Ventura County program that uses place mats and prescription cards to give senior citizens tips how to avoid becoming crime victims has received state honors, officials announced Tuesday.

The Senior Crime Prevention Program operated by the district attorney's office was one of 11 programs in the state to be selected as a 1998 Challenger Award winner by the California State Assn. of Counties, officials said.

The state office received 127 entries from 31 counties, and the Senior Crime Prevention Program was the only winner from Ventura County, said Kevin McGee, chief assistant district attorney.

The local program was formed in 1995 after recommendations from Ventura County's Elder Abuse Council and approval from the Board of Supervisors. The program is run by two employees in the district attorney's victim services division.

"I think the award represents a lot of input from the people who work in this office, those who work on the Elder Abuse Council and others in the community. This is an area that is going to become more focused for law enforcement and prosecution," McGee said.

The local program includes presentations to senior groups, crime prevention handbooks and audiotapes for the visually impaired.

Seniors who receive food from Meals on Wheels get tips on their place mats, and some pharmacies distribute tips on prescription cards, McGee said.

All of the materials are available in Spanish, he added.

Challenge Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges with expertise in county programs, said Steven C. Szalay, executive director of the state office that announced the honors.

Award winners will attend a conference in November in Anaheim to present their programs to representatives of counties that do not have senior crime prevention and other community resource programs, McGee said.

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