Each year, Saratoga County pauses to reflect and remember the victims of crimes committed in our community during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year is no exception to the desire to remember and reflect on the impact crimes have on our community, but is unusual in that we are doing so by reaching out virtually and symbolically to “Support Victims Build Trust and Engage Communities”- the 2021 theme of Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
The faces and stories of crime victims come from family, friends, neighbors and community members. Since the passage of the Victim of Crime Act of 1984, the work of dedicated advocates, lawmakers and victim service providers have made available a growing array of services and resources for victims and their loved ones. This year, Saratoga County commemorative events include:
- The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution proclaiming April 18-24, 2021 as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Saratoga County. The resolution honors the rights of victims- to be heard by all involved; to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. It affirms Saratoga County’s commitment to ensuring access to services for all victims of crime and also recognizes the many volunteers, professionals and organizations dedicated to victims of crime. Attached is a copy of that resolution.
- The Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office has planted small flags of different colors in the shape of a healing tree outside the Office at 25 West High Street. Each color depicted in the tree design represents a different kind of crime victim served by the office: physical assault; sexual assault; domestic violence; homicide; crimes against persons or businesses; personal injury crashes; and alcohol or drug involved vehicular crashes. The flags proportionally represent the crime victims supported by the District Attorney’s Office Crime Victim Specialists during 2019 and 2020. Each flag signifies three people. The display can be viewed in the Saratoga County Municipal Complex Courtyard, 25 West High Street, Ballston Spa, New York Attached is a photograph of that display.
- The District Attorney’s Office will also release later this week statements from three victims of crimes committed in Saratoga County over the past few years. Each reflection is a powerful account of the impact the criminal conduct of another continues to have on the lives of these crime victims. Two of the statements are from parents of a husband and wife who were killed by a drunk driver in Clifton Park in May 2019, when they came to Saratoga County to attend a wedding. The third statement is from the mother of a 19-year-old victim who was found dead outside a relative’s home following the criminally negligent actions of two defendants.
District Attorney Heggen observes that “The annual observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights week allows our community to honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. The national theme of “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.” recognizes the contributions of the many professionals and volunteers who support the healing journeys of crime victims”
For additional information, please contact Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen at 518-885-2263.