asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what practical steps he proposes to take to reduce the incidence of criminal assault on elderly people attacked while in their own homes.
A number of measures currently being taken to reduce the incidence of housebreaking and crime generally should help with this problem. Specific developments include (a) the recently launched campaign to promote neighbourhood watch, which is aimed at preventing housebreaking and vandalism by means of improved physical security, watchfulness and mutual help within the community, and (b) the national initiative by my Department and the Manpower Services Commission, under the community programme, to promote crime prevention projects, a specific aim of which is to provide the elderly, the disabled and the disadvantaged with practical improvements in home security. In addition, an architectural design competition is being held to encourage architects to incorporate good crime prevention and design features in housing developments. More generally, police forces are always ready to advise individual householders about appropriate security measures, use of which will reduce the opportunities for this type of crime.