What is the Seniors vs. Crime Project?Seniors vs. Crime is a non-profit organization that operates as a special project of the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The Project was founded in 1989 by Ret. Colonel Vern C. Thornton of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office at the direction of the then Attorney General Robert Butterworth.
What is the goal of the Seniors vs. Crime Project?The primary goal of the Project is to reduce the victimization of senior citizens who are often targeted for specific crimes or scams based on their age. The Project accomplishes this goal by providing various educational and crime prevention programs to senior citizen groups; investigating complaints and seeking restitution in respect of complaints made by seniors; and by providing investigative agencies with senior volunteers to assist them with specific investigations.
How is the Seniors vs. Crime Project funded?Seniors vs. Crime is very proud of the fact that NO taxpayer money is used to fund the Project. All operational costs are paid for from settlements reached with companies who have been involved in defrauding the elderly.
What is a Senior Sleuth?A Senior Sleuth is a senior citizen who has volunteered to assist the Seniors vs. Crime Project. Assistance rendered by Sleuths might include conducting surveys and identifying suspicious activity as well as helping with investigations and conducting covert operations as part of an operation of the Project. Sleuths also act as a resource to local, state, and federal law enforcement or regulatory agencies that may need specific volunteer services.
Who are Senior Sleuths?Senior Sleuths are recruited from all walks of life and range from homemakers to rocket scientists. Former and /or current occupation is irrelevant - as is physical condition. A Sleuth may be athletic or bedridden. The Project welcomes applications from all seniors and anyone with an interest in making Florida more “senior friendly.”
Why should I become a Sleuth?Why not? There are no minimum hours that you must work. YOU determine your level of participation. You may limit your involvement to reporting solicitations that you receive at your home. Or you may wish to become more active and be involved in sting operations or volunteer to staff a Project Office. The decision is yours. Other benefits include an opportunity to meet others who are interested in crime prevention; learn about criminal activity that is targeting seniors in your community; receive a monthly newsletter and email alerts and assist the Attorney General in protecting all senior citizens. There is no benefit to NOT becoming a Sleuth!
Is being a Sleuth time consuming?Not at all! The vast majority of Sleuth assignments are simply carried out as part of your everyday routine. Some examples include the clipping of newspaper/magazine ads; reporting contacts by telemarketing companies; reviewing your mail for suspicious solicitations; checking prices of and quantities of prescription medication purchased; etc. Infrequently, you may be asked to participate in a project that would take you out of your home or away from your daily routine. Those projects that would require more of your time but are strictly voluntary on your part. You do not have to participate in special projects to remain an active and valued participant.
Would I be placed in any kind of jeopardy?If you should volunteer for a covert project, we would do everything possible to ensure your wellbeing. Your role would most probably be to act as an unsuspecting consumer while allowing the transaction to be recorded. You would not be placed in ANY dangerous situation and, where you were participating in a covert operation, a law enforcement officer would always be nearby.
Will there be expenses incurred by me?With the exception of perhaps an occasional postage stamp, Sleuths do not incur any expenses. In extremely rare instances, a special project may require expenditure. In that case, all costs will be borne by the Project.
Who will I be reporting to?In most instances you will be volunteering at the direction of the local County Coordinator. Coordinators are usually law enforcement officers or are assigned to a law enforcement agency. In some instances, a Coordinator may be a senior volunteer who has a through understanding of the Project and has demonstrated necessary leadership skills. You may also volunteer to assist in the operations of one of the Project's Offices - in which case you will work with the Office Manager.
Will I require any special training?For the most part, NO. As described above, your participation will normally extend beyond performing everyday tasks. If working on special projects, you will receive specialized instruction from either Project staff or an investigating agency representative. At no time will you be asked to perform a task with which you feel uncomfortable or for which you do not feel sufficiently qualified and prepared.
What requirements must I meet to become a Sleuth?Requirements are very basic. Age 50 or older. You must have no criminal history, have a genuine desire to help others and agree to hold Project information as strictly confidential.
How do I become a Senior Sleuth?For more information, you call 1-800-203-3099. Or, you may simply go to the page Become a Senior Sleuth and fill in your information online. After you submit your online application, you will be contacted of your acceptance as a Senior Sleuth by a staff member and may be told what you can do as the eyes and ears for the Attorney General.
"The Seniors vs. Crime Project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry."
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