Columbo hits Florida? ‘Senior Sleuth’ program turns 25
A story of interest appeared recently in the Palm Beach Post. In 1989, the Florida Attorney General launched a program that became known as the Florida’s Seniors vs. Crime Project. It has since grown from 300 to more than 2,000 volunteers, and this month celebrates its 25th anniversary!
The volunteers, called “senior sleuths,” fight crime and protect other seniors from scams and fraud. They help investigators by reporting questionable solicitations, high pressure sales tactics and false advertising.
In 2013, the sleuths helped recover $2.7 million for seniors who were victims of deceptive and unfair trade practices. They also helped resolve a case that resulted in a payout of $1.4 million to a person who had been trying to recover the money for years.
The sleuths also helped police officers lead to 21 arrests. All in all, they have helped 5,145 Florida seniors.
The program now has 40 offices and 6 branches across Florida. To become a “senior sleuth” you must be over 50, with a clean criminal history!
This story is an inspiration. And although it is not clear if similar organizations exist across North America, the concept is not only exciting but also useful. I hope one day we will have as large an organization working here in British Columbia.
This ad ran in the Richmond Review on April 11, 2014.