SF SAFE’s Safety Presentations for Elders, Neighborhood Groups a Critical Resource

While activities at 83-year-old Vito Rutigliano’s assisted living residence, Coventry Place, typically include bingo, cards and the like, he recently decided to change things up. Concerned about the huge backlash against Asian Americans, and recognizing that his fellow residents weren’t always aware of how to protect their own personal safety, Vito enlisted the help of his son, Carey Rutigliano, to organize a safety presentation for residents.

“I want to do something for the community,” Vito told his son. “I want to help people be prepared.”

Acquainted with SF SAFE, Carey helped his father, who has limited mobility, organize an Elder Safety Presentation by the organization at Coventry Place. Enter SF SAFE Security Services Manager Furlishous Wyatt, who visited Coventry Place residents in May to deliver his presentation to approximately 15 residents.

Given Coventry Place’s close proximity to Japantown, Wyatt focused part of his presentation on the recent Asian American and Pacific Islander population attacks and how the elderly residents can practice good personal and street safety. Topics during the presentation also included: buddying up; being aware of your surroundings; how to be a good witness/proper description-taking tactics; dangerous situations to watch out for considering many residents’ mobility issues; commuter and travel safety; and scams and fraud—to touch on some. “If you think 911, dial 911,” Wyatt also advised residents.

“People really found it beneficial,” said Carey regarding his father’s takeaway from SF SAFE’s recent presentation. This helped make them aware of what to do outside of Coventry. People walked away…with a better understanding of the city, their own safety and how to help other people in their community. They learned how to look out for themselves.” According to Carey, since the presentation was limited in number of attendees due to COVID guidelines, they hope to have Wyatt return to talk to those who couldn’t attend.

As it turns out, the Coventry Place Elder Safety Presentation wasn’t the only presentation Wyatt gave during May. He also gave a virtual Neighborhood Crime and Safety Presentation to the Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association (GGHNA), SHARP and other neighborhood groups on the west side.

For this presentation, Wyatt focused on residential and commercial safety, which included “target hardening,” i.e., securing your home with solid doors/locks/windows, security/viewers to use, alarm systems and looking at security in layers such as exterior/building layer/interior layer. He also cautioned that the most common door overlooked in home security is the garage-to-house door, which needs to be of solid construction with a deadbolt. Wyatt also touched on single family home garage break-in prevention and residential security in multiple dwellings and apartments (warning residents against propping doors open, as well as on package theft prevention strategies, parking smart and related security topics.

After the presentation, Frank Noto sent a note to Wyatt saying, “We truly appreciate hearing your presentation and making San Francisco SAFE’s services available to the households in our neighborhoods.” To see the presentation (Wyatt appears at about 21 minutes, 25 seconds), click here.

With San Francisco’s recovery underway, Wyatt recommends setting up safety presentations in person if possible. To learn more, or to request a safety presentation for your group, click here.

-Kathy Chouteau