By LANCE CRANMER firstname.lastname@example.org
JENNINGS, LA – At first Peggy Daigle couldn’t believe what the voice on the other end of the phone was telling her.
Westminster Homes, the 40-unit National Church Residences senior retirement community where Peggy is the Senior Manager, had been selected to participate in the Senior Crimestoppers program.
“We got a phone call from a lady named Kay,” Peggy said. “She was so excited about it. She said, ‘We want to know if you would be interested.’”
Senior Crimestoppers is a program provided by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF), a national organization that serves as a way for banks to fulfill their federally mandated Community Reinvestment Act requirements through providing aid to low and moderate income individuals in their local community.
Thanks to First Guaranty Bank, which recently joined the SHCPF, Westminster Homes was selected to benefit from the program.
“First Guaranty Bank is proud to help in efforts to make our senior citizens safer and more secure,” said Alton Lewis, CEO of First Guaranty Bank. “This is another way in which we can contribute to the communities we serve.”
Peggy said she was told that Westminster Homes was one of just three properties in Louisiana chosen to be part of Senior Crimestoppers and that she was shocked and honored to be selected.
“They were going to give each resident a lockbox to install in their apartments. We thought, ‘Forty free lock boxes? This has got to be a scam,’” Peggy said with a laugh. “I talked to my supervisor and she said it was legit and to go for it.”
A matter of days later a shipment arrived at Westminster Homes that contained 40 two-foot-by-one-foot lockboxes – which were quickly installed to the residents’ delight.
“I called a meeting to tell the residents what was going on,” Peggy said. “They all started clapping!”
Terry Rooker, the president of Senior Crimestoppers, said since the program began it has reduced all aspects of crime in participating facilities by 94 percent.
“Senior Crimestoppers is a way for an administrator to further enhance the lives of the residents they serve,” he said. “They all work very hard to provide safe, secure, comfortable living environments and their desire to implement the program is just one more example of this. Implementing this program does not mean that the facility currently has a crime problem, but that the administrator is proactively finding a way to keep problems from occurring in the future.”
Peggy said that Westminster Homes has never had a crime problem, but that the program was still a welcome addition to the facility.
“I’ve been here 24 years and one time we had maybe five tires that were slashed, but that was right after Hurricane Katrina and we had a lot of activity in the town,” she said.
She added that the residents at Westminster Homes are happy to now have a place to keep their important items protected.
“Some of our residents had their birth certificates and social security cards stashed in a box here and a box there,” Peggy said. “Now they’ll have them in a place where they’re safe.”
To celebrate Westminster Homes’ participation in the Senior Crimestoppers program, a charter presentation ceremony will be held at the facility on Wednesday, October 14 at 3:30 p.m.
George Clinard, Vice President of the SHCPF, and a representative from First Guaranty bank in Hammond, LA, will be on hand to present the facility with a Charter Plaque.