It's often under reported yet it affects thousands of Calgarians, and now the city is trying to raise more awareness about elder abuse.

The Elder Abuse Response Team, which is made up of the  the Kerby Centre, Calgary Family Services and the Calgary Police Service, says it's counting on the public to help stop the crime.

The National Seniors Council reports between four and 10 per cent of elderly Canadians have experienced some type of abuse — roughly 4,000 of those Calgarians.

But the real crime, according to Insp. Bill O'Brien, is that nobody knows about.

"If we know that, or we suspect that, somebody is being abused and we do nothing about and somebody dies as a result ... I don’t know how you live with yourself," he said.

O'Brien hopes people will take advantage of the 24-hour elder abuse hotline — which connects victims with the help they need.

Funding to develop an elder abuse team was announced last April and since May it’s investigated 100 cases and laid 31 criminal charges.

Elisabeth DesCamps with Calgary Family Service says people don't realize how debilitating these crimes can be.

"Having people feel that they are no longer capable, they are no longer safe in the community and those emotional affects statistically impact the amount of time they actually live," she said.

DesCamps says there are a number of warning signs to look for like bruising and isolation, but the best warning sign is trust one's own intuition.