The Kansas City Star reports that the KC Police Department's new Victim Assistance Unit goes well beyond the traditional law enforcement outreach to crime victims. Specialists now call every victim of a robbery or aggravated assault, usually the day after the crime, many times even before a detective has been assigned the case. They also send a follow-up letter detailing victims' rights and different free services that could be available to victims, including grief and trauma counseling.
Police Chief Darryl Forté began remaking victim advocacy soon after he was hired in 2011. Forté said the idea gained importance after The Star published a two-day series called Many Bullets, Little Blame last year that highlighted shooting victims' reluctance to cooperate with police. Many victims told The Star they were too afraid and didn't trust police. Taking care of victims and building positive relationships will boost cooperation and prosecution, Forté said.