Senior Citizens Becoming Bigger Targets for Violent Crime

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(Memphis) The violent and brutal murder of an elderly woman in North Memphis spreads new concern for assault on the elderly here in Memphis.

Bobbie Jean Edinbourgh was in her mid-70s and just finished chemo after a successful battle with breast cancer when she was killed in her home Tuesday.

Edinbourgh`s family is devastated after their loved one was murdered in cold blood Tuesday.

“She had so much love. She would give her last. If anyone had anything she was welcomed to it,”  said Esther Harrison.

According to a 2012 TBI crime study, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary against elderly people is on the rise, leaving some of them prisoners in their own homes.

Nathan Person has lived in North Memphis for decades and says he`s not leaving the neighborhood even though it's changed around him, becoming more dangerous. He says he's taking precautions.

“What they do to me, I can do to them. So if they come here, I'm prepared for them. That's the way it has to be,” said Person.

Many people like Person find they can't leave the neighborhood they've raised families in for financial or sentimental reasons, and opt for bars and cameras to fend off unwanted company.

Kathryn Coulter with the Aging Commission of the Mid-South says people are living longer and becoming crime victims more often in Memphis.

“We do have seniors who are afraid to leave their homes because they are afraid of what will happen to their homes if they are not there,” said Coulter.

Coulter says it's up to good neighbors in the area to check in on the elderly whenever possible, and she says any area can set up a neighborhood watch whenever they want.

If you're a senior and you feel in danger, there is a program to help you protect yourself. You can call the Aging Commission at 901-222-4111 and they will help you figure out how to stay safe.

According to that TBI study, more than 40 percent of the violent crimes against seniors are committed by family members.