NYPD Putting Crime-Victim Advocates in All 77 Precincts

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Surviving a shooting or stabbing in a poor New York City neighborhood can be a prelude to a long battle for help. Paraplegic shooting victims can languish for weeks in city hospitals without counseling, their public insurance insufficient to get them a bed at a rehabilitation clinic, the New York Times reports. Others recovering from injuries return home with dim job prospects and a fear of going outside. Distrustful of the police, they sometimes decline to talk to detectives seeking to solve a crime, leaving them on their own to work through the pain and anger that follow.

To address those issues, the New York Police Department said yesterday that it would bring advocates for crime victims into each of the city’s 77 precincts, opening a door to a range of therapeutic and financial services that people in poor, minority neighborhoods have lacked. The program, staffed by Safe Horizon, a nonprofit that places domestic-violence counselors in the city’s police precincts, is the first since at least the early 2000s to provide victims of crimes like assault and robbery access to services within a station house. The move reflects a growing recognition that the people who disproportionately bear the brunt of serious crime — mostly young minority men — are the least likely to get help. The federal budget for crime victims grew last year by $1.6 billion, part of what advocates say is a broad shift toward recognizing that money for social services needs to flow into high-crime neighborhoods, just as resources to support law enforcement have for decades. “Our outreach is going to include people who haven’t always felt that there are victims services available to them,” said Susan Herman, deputy commissioner for collaborative policing.

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