Officer Teaching Seniors Safety

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - To answer the growing concern for senior safety in our community, Virginia Beach Sheriff Rocky Holcomb has put together a seminar to be conducted by the VBSO’s Emergency Response Team (ERT). The ERT’s first course will be held at the Pungo-Blackwater Library, 916 Princess Anne Road, on Monday, March 4, 10-11 a.m.

“We hope to empower seniors with this seminar to always be aware of their surroundings and be confident they would know how to react if confronted with someone trying to harm them,” Holcomb said. “The need for this course is not going away. We will have more and more seniors, from Baby Boomers to Gen X, in the next 10-20 years.”

The class’s objectives including teaching seniors the concepts of situational awareness and self-defense skills if confronted, getting help in case of emergency, and discussing common attacks and reasons for them.

In 2019, 54.1 million US adults were 65 or older, representing 16% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2040, the number of older adults is expected to reach 80.8 million, and by 2060, it will reach 94.7 million, when older adults will make up nearly 25% of the US population, the CDC says.

Further, nonfatal assaults among senior citizens 60 years of age and older in the United States rose significantly from 2008 and 2016, according to the CDC. The nonfatal assault rate for senior men increased from 77.7 to 136.3 per 100,000 people, representing a 75.4% increase. For senior women, the estimated nonfatal assault rate rose by 35.4%, from 43.8 to 59.3 per 100,000 people during the same period. (These estimates are based on the number of injuries treated in emergency departments and exclude sexual assault cases.) 

The ERT is an elite group of deputies who receive specialized training to respond to emergencies and high-risk situations, such as prisoner disturbances, inmate escapes, and barricade and hostage situations. They also assist with high-profile court cases, warrant sweeps, erroneous releases and prisoner transports. The group also teaches active shooter training in the community.

Media contact: Email or contact Public Information Officer Toni Guagenti at (757) 373-5012.