LETTER: We all suffer effects of crimeTo the Telegram: It’s been a rough stretch of time in northern Wisconsin. Despite national averages of declining unemployment and a growing economy, recovery seems to take a little longer to reach us here.
To the Telegram:
It’s been a rough stretch of time in northern Wisconsin. Despite national averages of declining unemployment and a growing economy, recovery seems to take a little longer to reach us here. A lot of our family, friends and neighbors are struggling to make ends meet, to remain healthy and happy in their daily lives, and to hold on to their visions of a prospering future for themselves and their loved ones.
And then, for all of us, crime strikes.
Crime may not strike you directly … not right in your face directly, but it strikes you nonetheless. Statistics show that you or someone close to you will become the victim of a crime. And even if you’re lucky enough to dodge the direct effect of crime, all of us suffer the consequences of criminal behavior in the ever increasing costs of our taxes and insurances. The arrest, incarceration and prosecution of offenders is expensive. The costs of rehabilitation and/or punishment are tremendous.
Why is crime the answer for some people? Who finds it acceptable to abuse their children, batter their domestic partner, bully their classmates, steal from their neighbors and local businesses, or drive drunk?
Sadly, community residents commit the vast majority of crime in Superior and Douglas County. And the victims are you, your family, your friends and neighbors, your corner store and the big corporation down the street.
If you have been the victim of a crime, you know firsthand the effects of that victimization.
Some of us are able to move on from the effects of crime rather quickly. Others may feel those effects for the rest of their lives. And all of us will react to the effects of crime in an individual and unique way.
There are no rules on how to handle victimization, and none of us should ever judge a victim’s response in the aftermath of a crime committed against them. What we should do is offer the care and support that crime victims seek, to whatever degree they seek it. We should all feel the moral and ethical obligation to recognize the needs of victims and to engage our community in the fight against crime and the support of victims’ rights.
Spring is always a busy time of year. But if you find you have a few extra minutes to spare during the month of April, stop by the Douglas County Courthouse and walk the hallways of the second floor. There you will find the 2012 Crime Victims’ Rights display created by the District Attorney’s Victim Witness Assistance Program. The display consists of over 1,200 images, each of which represents a victim of a crime that has received services through the Victim Witness Office over the course of the last year.
These images represent individuals, organizations and corporations in our community who have suffered the effects of being a victim of a crime committed in Douglas County. One of them may represent you.
During the week of April 22-28, our country will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year’s theme is Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim.
Although we should practice and promote awareness of victims’ rights on a daily basis, all year long, Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a time set aside to highlight the accomplishments made in the field of victim services and to renew our commitment as a society to help reach out to victims in need of assistance, one victim at a time.
Because we all suffer at the hands of criminals, either directly or indirectly, we must work together to ensure we are reaching out to every victim with the help and support they need.
District Attorney Daniel Blank, and Victim Witness coordinators Kathryn Senn and Mary Russom,