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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Who could attack helpless older women? That's a question many people are asking after two violent attacks, one of them deadly, in a matter of days.
Since the beginning of the year there have been at least four attacks and robberies on elderly people in Albany. Police say one is too many. Right now they're on the streets looking for the man who attacked and robbed an 88-year-old woman Tuesday.
In the comfort of their own neighborhoods or homes, the elderly are being attacked by criminals. "I think it's awful," said Sowega Council on Aging Director Kay Hind, "I just hope that somehow we can stop this."
Back in February, 84-year-old Esther Eckstein was knocked down, choked and robbed in her home. Tuesday, 88-year-old Charlie Mae Posey was attacked, robbed and pepper sprayed in the face outside her home. Just two days before, 88-year-old Mabel Berry was beaten to death at her home during a robbery attempt.
"It really is close to home," said Hind.
The Sowega Council on Aging provided homemaker service to Berry. Hind is concerned. "It's bad enough to lose your property but we certainly don't want anyone hurt," said Hind. But why are the elderly being targeted?
"We really don't know," said Lieutenant Eddie Jones with Albany Police, "we don't know why people are attacking elderly people now and why the attacks are so violent."
Albany detectives say one reason could be that criminals see seniors as easy, vulnerable targets. That's why they have to start outsmarting those who prey on them by paying more attention to surroundings. "Always pay attention when you're driving home especially when you're coming from the bank or the ATM. Look in your rearview mirror to see if anyone is following you," said Jones.
You never know who can be watching, even in your own neighborhood. "They could have been walking down the alley, watching you from across the street or just being in the neighborhood paying attention," said Jones.
Keep outside lights on at night and keep doors locked. Neighbors and relatives should also do safety checks. "Go by and knock on the door, check and make sure they're ok," said Detective Terrence Whitlock with APD.
Detectives say they take it personal when the older people are attacked. "You think of your own family member when situations like this come about," said Sergeant Cliff Hawkins.
Police say some of those situations can be avoided by potential victims. "Don't let a stranger come in no matter what they say," said Hind.
Police and advocates for the elderly will be trying their best to prevent any future attacks. Police say you shouldn't be afraid to call them with concerns. If you see anyone suspicious around your home, give them a call to come check it out.