To the Editor:

Every 5 seconds, someone becomes a victim of violent crime in the United States. As we face emerging challenges of globalization, human trafficking, terrorism, the use of technology in crime, and reduced funding, there is an urgent need to seek new solutions and adapt to the changing demographics of crime victims. The recent tragedies in Aurora and Sandy Hook, and the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State remind us that enduring challenges also remain. As only 50% of violent crimes are reported, we continue to search for ways to reach and help every victim. While these statistics reflect an enormous task ahead of us, each and every victim survivor represents a victory, and their strength and determination can inspire us all.

From April 21-27, communities nationwide will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by hosting events to raise public awareness and honor victims of violent crimes and their advocates. This year’s theme – New Challenges. New Solutions. – reminds us to unite in honor of survivors and their families, recognize the hard work of advocates, celebrate progress made in victims’ rights, and focus on finding innovative solutions for the new and enduring challenges victims face today. As a part of this initiative, there will be numerous events around the Capital District that highlight these issues.

On Sunday, April 21st, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s office will host the annual Crime Victims’ Candlelight Vigil. Please join us at 4PM at the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church, 24 Circular Street in Saratoga Springs. We will hear the inspirational stories of 2 survivors, and recognize the extraordinary commitment to public service of John Kelly, Law Enforcement Coordinator at Saratoga Center for the Family and Community Educator for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Lisa Hogan, from the Crime Victims’ Unit at the District Attorney’s office. We will once again have the Broken Hearts: Forever a Life Sentence display, created by Cynthia Dort at Cornell University Cooperative Extension in coordination with several agencies to promote teen driver safety and preserve the memory of driver fatality victims. The program will close with a candlelight vigil, followed by refreshments and fellowship.

Other local events during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week include:
• Memorial Brick Dedication Ceremony, on Friday, April 19th at 1:00 pm at the Empire State Plaza, Albany.
• Crime Victims’ Award Breakfast hosted by the Warren and Washington County District Attorney’s Offices on Monday, April 22nd
• DWI Memorial Ceremony in Troy, NY on Tuesday, April 23rd
• Rose Garden Remembrance in Schenectady on Wednesday, April 24th
• Albany County Bar Association 19th Annual 5k Run/Walk Against Domestic Violence on Wednesday, April 24th
• A Celebration of Remembrance in Albany on Thursday, April 25th
• Take Back the Night Rally and March in Troy on Thursday, April 25th
• Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in Troy on Saturday, April 27th

The public is invited and encouraged to attend these events and can contact the Crime Victims Unit in the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office (518) 885-2263 for additional information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Together we can continue to guarantee substantial justice to crime victims.

Very truly yours,

James A. Murphy, III
Saratoga County District Attorney