Prosecutors, nonprofit creating fund for victims of lesser crimes

November 06, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County prosecutors and a private organization will create what victim advocates believe is the second local fund in the state to help the victims of smaller crimes pay for repairs and cleanups.

The fund is set to begin operating in January with $7,000 in proceeds from a race scheduled for Sunday. Organizers hope the 5-kilometer Victims' Fun Run will become an annual event.

"There has never been an emergency fund for victims of smaller crimes," said Shelly George, victim advocate in the state's attorney's office and the organizer of the race.

"We are talking about locks, windows, screens, things that get broken," said State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee. "But for some people, it's an expense which they just can't afford."

The state victim compensation fund helps victims of more serious crimes, paying for such things as funerals and medical expenses for indigent victims. Reimbursement commonly takes several months, George said, and the fund does not address the kinds of quick help the new fund would.

The private, nonprofit Take Back Our Streets Inc. will administer the fund.

"This is a commendable effort I would hope that other counties emulate," said Roberta Roper, executive director of the Stephanie Roper Committee, the state's largest victim advocacy organization, which is named in memory of her murdered daughter.

"Montgomery County has its own criminal injuries compensation fund. I don't think another county has its own fund," Roper said.

The race will begin at the Park Plaza shopping center on Ritchie Highway between McKinsey and Robinson roads in Severna Park, head north on the adjacent Baltimore-Annapolis Trail Park and return.

Registration opens at 7: 15 a.m., and the race begins at 8: 30 a.m. About $1,000 in prizes will be awarded. The entry fee, which is $15 in advance and $18 on the morning of the race, includes a T-shirt for the first 300 entrants and a party and refreshments afterward.

George said 180 people have registered.

Race registration may be made through the state's attorney's office, 410-222-1740.

Pub Date: 11/06/98

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