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Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crime victims compensation board starts work

People who file a police report can then fill out a new compensation form to possibly get paid back after they're victims of crime.

June 24, 2010

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Douglas County is now officially just one of two Kansas counties to compensate victims of property crimes, joining Saline County. Although Douglas County’s program got started in April, District Attorney Charles Branson is just now spreading the news.

The program is called the Douglas County Property Crimes Compensation Fund. Now, when someone reports a property crime such as a theft or vandalism, police officers will provide the victim with information on the compensation fund. The victim fills out an application, which is reviewed by the Property Crimes Compensation Board. The board meets monthly to review the applications it has received, and then decides how much each victim should receive to compensate them for their loss in property.

Branson explained how someone might benefit.

“The construction worker down the street has a tool stolen out of his vehicle; it may not be enough to make an insurance claim to be covered by his insurance, but he’s going to have to replace that tool and go back to work the next day,” he said.

Branson said normally the only way a property crime victim can recover money from what was taken or damaged is through restitution. If a defendant is found guilty of committing a crime, he or she is generally ordered to pay the victim. But it can sometimes take months or years for a victim to receive payment.

The compensation fund could provide the victim with money almost right away.

“We have an opportunity with this program to put the money back into a victim’s hands much faster than the regular process does,” Branson said.

There are some restrictions to the program. The criminal act must have occurred on or after April 1, 2010. Restitution is capped at $250 for misdemeanors and $500 for felonies.

Douglas County has set aside a portion of the money it receives from diversions to fund the program. There’s currently $15,000 in the fund, but Branson plans to ask for $25,000 for next year. The board will meet July 16 to consider new applications for compensation.

Applications may be picked up at the district attorney’s office or the application can be found at douglas-county.com/depts/da/docs/pdf/da_apppropcrimescom.pdf.

Comments

rbwaa 4 years, 6 months ago

is there a fund for personal injury for someone who needs help paying for medical costs as well as for mental health costs for traumatic reactions, for example rape?

Darth_Vader 4 years, 6 months ago

yes, there is a state funded program to help pay victims medical bill.

Food_for_Thought 4 years, 6 months ago

My only concern with this is, like any well-intended government program, this has high-potential for abuse. For example, someone could buy a "junker" car, destroy it, then report it as damaged. They get a compensation check, and with no intention of repairing it, they have it hauled off for salvage, which they'll get money for as well from a scrap yard. Same goes for those who might want some money to remodel a part of their house. They damage their house, claim they were vandalized/burglarized, collect the check, and then repair it themselves for pennies on the dollar.

With Lawrence having the highest property crime rate in the State, I applaud Douglas County for starting a program like this; however, I only hope that they have certain "checks and balances" within the program to minimize "property crime fraud"...

parrothead8 4 years, 6 months ago

So what you're saying is, someone would spend money on a junker car, spend time damaging it where they couldn't be observed, then pay to have it hauled off later...just to go through the paperwork to receive a $250 compensation claim? That doesn't seem like a very good way to make money.

Food_for_Thought 4 years, 6 months ago

You assume that they purchased this car in the first place. The vehicle may have been a broken down junker that they couldn't sell without putting work into it. Rather than getting a measly $70 for giving it away to a scrap yard, they can have it "damaged", file a report, get $250 to $500 (depending on the level of damage), before giving it to a scrap yard. You also must realize that I just used a car as an example. Someone could claim anything they wanted as "stolen", then report it to be compensated. This compensation fund is not limited to victims of criminal damage, but also theft / burglary....

Sita 4 years, 6 months ago

Seems like insurance fraud would be a better crime than misusing this program.

parrothead8 4 years, 6 months ago

You don't have a very clear view of what "socialist ideology" means, do you? And what freedoms, exactly, do we not have now that we had two years ago?

jayhawkca 4 years, 6 months ago

You had to be the victim of a crime AFTER April 1, 2010. If you went and got yourself victimized before that date, you're SOL.

50YearResident 4 years, 6 months ago

From the story: There are some restrictions to the program. The criminal act must have occurred before April 1, 2010. Restitution is capped at $250 for misdemeanors and $500 for felonies Which statement is correct?

Food_for_Thought 4 years, 6 months ago

You misread, it's actually BEFORE April 1. More than likely, this is something that's handled annually; in other words, next year, the program will be open for victims from April 1, 2010 to April 1, 2011, and so on.

peacock 4 years, 6 months ago

i looked at the form because i was recently a victim of theft, and it says the form must be filed within 60 days of the occurance. which means you MUST have been a victim AFTER april 1st, because otherwise you would be out of the 60 day window. unless i missed something....

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