Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian met with approximately 100 Somerville seniors Wednesday morning to launch the TRIAD program, which is designed to protect seniors from crime.
Speaking at the Winter Hill Yacht Club, Koutoujian said, "Senior citizens are more targeted" by criminals than the general population. Criminals often target seniors with fraudulent mailings, phone calls, Internet scams and in-person cons, he said.
The TRIAD program is designed to educate seniors and the public about scams, crimes and prevention techniques, he said. It's also designed to support seniors with community resources and unite them with local law enforcement organizations.
Somerville is the first city in Middlesex County to launch the program, the sheriff said, and it's run in partnership with the Somerville Council on Aging. (Visit the Council on Aging's Facebook page here).
In addition to scams and cons—emails from Nigerian royalty, telephone calls from phony police benevolent associations, for example—seniors are targeted by some criminals because many of them have prescription drugs.
"The major scourge in society now, and it's really hit Somerville hard, is prescription drugs," Koutoujian said. "Where is the supply coming from? It's coming from our medicine cabinets."
Somerville is sponsoring a drug take-back day on April 28, where people can dispose of old drugs, he and other officials said Wednesday.
Somerville Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello, Somerville Fire Chief Kevin Kelleher and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone also spoke Wednesday.
"Crime in Somerville is down 30 percent," Curtatone said.
Pasquarello said, "We've never had crime lower in the city of Somerville than in 2011."