MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's a startling statistic. Three elderly women, ages 70 and older, have been murdered in Montgomery since July.
That number hits home for those who attend functions at the Montgomery Council on Aging, or MACOA, who lost an active member, Mary Gedel, 92, to a horrific murder earlier in October.
"It's a problem, a huge problem," District Attorney Daryl Bailey explained. "That's what I am doing here today, is educating senior women who live by themselves."
Bailey spoke to the group during their monthly luncheon, what is usually a high point to share a meal and catch up with friends.
"I am very much concerned about crime in the area, especially for the elderly," admitted Marion Giles, who was looking forward to hearing Bailey address the issue of senior safety.
Bailey outlined a list of tips for the group ranging from new technology that needs installation and simple rules to crime-proof a home:
- Install a home security system
- Invest in the Ring Doorbell, which uses a camera to monitor the front door. The feed from the camera can be monitored on a cell phone by the homeowner, and even children or grandchildren. Bailey says those who monitor the feed can speak to the person at the front door.
- Purchase necklaces or watches that alert police directly by the touch of a button
- Keep wasp spray by the door
- Get motion-activated lighting
- Get motion-activated cameras that can be monitored electronically
- Don’t open the door for anyone you don't know
- Get to know your neighbors
Bailey says there's no better time than now to get to know your neighbors, including learning which neighbors are home during the day.
"That is the best crime-fighting tool we have in law enforcement," Bailey said of neighbors. "I love nosey neighbors who are looking out for each other, who recognizes someone is in the neighbor's yard, or unfamiliar cars."
Following the luncheon, Giles said she learned a lot and plans to put it to good use.
"The Ring Doorbell, I think that's a good product," she said. "I really feel like I am going to invest in that one. Everyone needs to see what's going on around them."
As of now, only one arrest has been made in recent homicides of the three elderly women. Johnel Travis, Jr. was arrested and charged with murder in the case of Rebecca Quillin, 73, who died in July. Montgomery police believe Travis shot Quillin at her home near the 2700 block of Sumter Avenue.
Ann Rudolph, 70, was shot to death at her home near the 4000 block of Ardmore Drive in August.
Mary Gedel, 92, was killed by blunt force trauma. She was found dead in her home near the 1900 block of South Court Street in October.
If you have any information on these cases, please call CrimeStoppers at 334-215-STOP. Callers can remain anonymous, and those with tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a cash reward.