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Archive for Sunday, January 31, 2010

Board set to repay victims of property crime

Payments up to $500 planned to start by April

A plan to award money to victims of property crime in Douglas County is finally taking shape, thanks to a federal grant.

January 31, 2010

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A plan to award money to victims of property crime in Douglas County is finally taking shape, thanks to a federal grant, District Attorney Charles Branson said.

People hit by vandals, thieves and burglars will be able to apply for up to $500 in assistance through the Property Crimes Compensation Board, which is expected to be handing out money by the end of April.

“People are very rarely made whole after they’ve been victimized,” Branson said. “This is an effort to try to help that along a little bit.”

Douglas County commissioners will determine how members are appointed to the three-person volunteer compensation board, which will prioritize applications and reimburse out-of-pocket losses to those victims who need the money most.

“What we’re really looking at is trying to help the contractor down the street that’s had his tools stolen out of his vehicle,” Branson said. “So he can get tools to go back to work, and it may be the difference between being employed or unemployed that day.”

Branson has been talking about forming the board for more than a year, but said he was only recently able to move forward with the concept after his office in October was awarded a $43,750 Federal Victims of Crime Act grant to hire a coordinator for the board.

The board’s payments will be funded using a portion of diversion fees coming into the district attorney’s office, and the balance will be maintained as criminals reimburse the money paid out of the fund as part of their restitution in a case.

Branson cautioned the board and its payments are not intended to replace insurance, but designed to help some victims get back on their feet.

“Not only are we trying to hold the defendants accountable, but we’re also trying to put the victims back in a closer place to where they were before they fell victim to the defendant’s actions,” Branson said during an interview in his office.

Comments

George_Braziller 4 years, 10 months ago

I wish this program had been around in 1999. A guy driving his second stolen vehicle of the day was being pursued by police in a high speed chase. When he realized he was cut off from the other direction as well, he drove into the neighbor's yard. In the process he slammed into my vehicle which was parked in front of my house.

He was caught and my vehicle was totaled. But, since the vehicle was stolen it was considered "unauthorized use." My insurance had to cover the damage, I had to pay the $500 deductible out of my pocket and was without a vehicle for a month.

workinghard 4 years, 10 months ago

Can't tell if the defendents have to be found guilty for the victim to get help. Since Branson doesn't like to be bothered with small cases many victims may not get the help they deserve.

kansasredlegs 4 years, 10 months ago

$43,750 to hire a coordinator, who coordinates volunteers? Laughable. How come when it comes to tax dollars, truth is always stranger than fiction. Mr. Branson, return the "free" federal dollars and walk away from this comedy.

The article didn't mention it, but is this one of those matching grants or one of those that DG CO will have to pick up after the first year?

Unbelievable waste of taxpayers money. Is this the kind of STIMULUS Washington is toaking about? Apparently marijuana and K2 is not illegal in Washington.

btw: $500.00 will not replace many tools for a contractor unless he purchases them from a local "pawn" brokerage where the stolen goods were taken to begin with.

Did I say laughable? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

kansasredlegs 4 years, 10 months ago

ilikebutter: "The grant is a matching grant, but that doesn't mean the County is matching the grant dollars with cash of their (sic) own"

In your prefer butter world, what does that mean since you indicate no county taxes will be used? Is the county going to match it with the same kind of fake dollars used to fund the federal grant? Match it with all that restitution collected and from all the diversion fees? Match it with the same laughter created by the concept of paying someone $43,750 (salary & benefits) to oversee a 3-person volunteer committee charged with prioritizing those in need of replacement equipment as a result of vandals and theives? If your livelihood depends on it, try taking better care of it, even if that means unloading it and bringing it into your house at night.

Mr. Branson can help by getting convictions and making sure that his office only accepts "guilty pleas" as these are judgments. The victim can use this "judgment" and garnish, levy and seize assets of the offender. May not be a great option but one heck of a way to continue to drag the offender into court if need be. If the offender (judgment debtor) fails to show up, cash only warrant issued... BINGO!!! Amazing how fast an offender gets the cash paid when sitting in jail until the cash only bond is paid.

Does one really believe that this will make the difference between a person working and not working on any given day? Are we to believe that this committee is going to be working around the clock, collecting daily police reports, prioritizing, making decisions and then the "$43,750 per annum Coordinator" will be arriving at a property victim's house the next day with a life-like poster of Ed McMahon with a balloon, flower arrangement cutting him or her a check for his or her loss.

Keep on dreaming ilikebutter... ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!

patrickj 4 years, 10 months ago

Kansasredlegs: " If your livelihood depends on it, try taking better care of it, even if that means unloading it and bringing it into your house at night."

Sounds like you have never done a hard days work in your life. I, for one, have and recently had a great deal of equipment stolen from my vehicle. And it is just not feasible to take everything out of my locked truck box and all the ladders to my shop. I am on call 24/7 and would have to spend no less than an hour each time loading and then another hour unloading. Would you want to be told that the service tech that would be repairing you heat in the middle of the night would be an extra hour late? I thinks that this program is a good idea, it won't quite make up for the $2,500.00 that was taken from me, but it will certainly help. And those of us that it will be helping are good honest people that have been take advantage of and are trying their best to make a living. Maybe you would like it better if we were to just give up and get on the welfare train.

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