Keeping elderly people safe after 94-year-old woman attacked at home

- A Houston Police Department officer is doing what she can to help keep area senior citizens safe. After 94-year-old Ophelia Outley was severely beaten in her own home by an intruder, Officer Janette Arceneaux says she had to do something to help protect elderly people.

It's too late for Ms. Outley. She died in March, a few weeks after she was attacked in her home in the Sunnyside neighborhood, but help is now being offered to other elderly people in Houston. 

"They are signing up for home safety surveys," explains Officer Arceneaux. "I have an elderly parent and I know just based on their fixed income and trying to pay for medication and stuff, it's very difficult.”

The veteran officer developed a crime prevention initiative. After senior citizens sign up, someone with HPD will schedule an appointment to inspect their homes.

“To find out if they need additional lighting, if they need door locks, strike plates, doors or anything else that will make their home more secure,” adds Arceneaux. The necessary safety upgrades will be installed for free.

“Very happy to see this event," says one southeast Houston elderly resident with a smile. "In fact, I'm supposed to be at the doctor, but I told them I had something important to do.”

The event at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center is the first of four crime prevention initiatives for senior citizens in Houston. The next will be held in the Denver Harbor area in July 2016. For some elderly people, cameras will be installed, some with two-way communication, so that their loved ones can also monitor their home remotely. The security products, services and labor are all being donated. 

If you are a senior citizen and would like to receive safety upgrades to your home, please contact the HPD Public Affairs office by phone at 713-308-3200.

Police have released a sketch of the intruder who broke in Ms. Outley's home and attacked her. He still hasn't been caught. There is a $6,000 reward if you can help police catch him. Anyone with information about the identity of the attacker is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston by phone at 713-222-8477 (TIPS), online by visiting https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=610, by text message by sending TIP610 and the information to 274637 (CRIMES) or with the Houston Crime Stoppers in the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store and the Blackberry App World. People who submit information to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous.

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