Thursday, August 23, 2012

Six aggravated assault victims pursue prosecution thanks to Community Support Division

Our Community Support Division (CSD) is continuing to make inroads and assist communities impacted by violence. Members of the Division so far have gone to more than 700 homes to reach out to residents in what we’re calling the “Community Impact Zone,” which is in one of the areas of the city identified as a violent crime hotspot.

CSD hired two summer employees – one in high school and one starting college – who I assigned the task of making phone calls to the uncooperative victims of more than 140 aggravated assaults that have occurred in 2012. Many of the assaults had multiple victims, so a total of 202 calls were made. Because of those calls, six victims have decided to cooperate in the prosecution of their cases. The Assault Squad is following up with them and working to present their cases to the prosecutor. The summer employees also made the victims aware of social services that are available to them whether they decide to prosecute or not. This kind of outreach will be continuing. As pointed out in a Kansas City Star article, victims of aggravated assault who choose not to prosecute those who hurt them often perpetuate the cycle of violence through retaliation, and we want to stop that.

Another thing CSD has implemented that has been very successful is the Community Crisis Intervention Program. This program takes the idea that someone who has been through a crisis and/or traumatic situation needs some counseling and applies it to a group of people. It’s often used for first responders and those who come into the aftermath of a traumatic event. We have applied this to four different communities that have suffered from violence. After their meetings, they have been empowered and eager to take control of the safety and security of their neighborhoods.

Additionally, CSD is working with Missouri Probation and Parole to create a Resource Fair attended by several community organizations. These organizations can assist offenders with myriad resources from basic needs like food, clothing and transportation to job skill training, mentoring and mental health services.

The CSD supports crime victims, their families, witnesses and more. We intend for the division to work more on crime prevention efforts in the future, as well.

For more information about financial support for violent crime victims and their families, go to the web site for the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.
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