Monday, August 19, 2013

State Victim Advocate Leader Reminds Public to Practice Safe Behaviors in Light of Rising Crime Rates

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

Violent crimes in California increased 2.92% last year, according to the FBI’s newly released Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, January-December, 2012. These surprising statistics indicate a reversal in the declining trend the state has seen in past years and compel me to remind everyone to stay alert and practice safe behaviors.

It was disturbing to learn that 60% of our communities are experiencing an increase in violence. Unfortunately, we cannot always prevent crime, but there are things each of us can do to minimize our risk of becoming a victim. I encourage everyone to practice these safe behaviors:

  • Be diligent in locking your home and car doors
  • Install surveillance and/or alarm systems
  • Stay alert of your surroundings
  • Take a self-defense course
  • Use safe and secure practices while online
  • Tell trusted family or friends where you are going and with whom
  • Practice safe boundaries
  • Get your neighbors involved through a neighborhood watch or neighborhood policing program
  • Trust your gut-level feelings; if a situation feels bad, try to find safety immediately

To manage the continued demand for victim services, CalVCP regularly communicates with law enforcement and other first responders across the state to provide current program information and materials to ensure victims are readily informed of available assistance following an incident. We have increased our outreach efforts to underserved and vulnerable populations, including those in rural locations, or those with physical or cultural barriers. We also provide relevant program and victim resource information through this blog, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube.

I would like to hear how you are practicing safe behaviors. Will you email me at or share your suggestions with us on social media? I look forward to your comments and suggestions; let’s practice safety together!

If you are a victim of a crime, we encourage you to find help. There are a number of resources available to assist victims of crime. Victims can reach out to their local victim witness assistance center to learn of available services, including CalVCP.

Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State.

Friday, August 2, 2013

30th Annual National Night Out

2013 marks the 30th anniversary of National Night Out (NNO), a major campaign aimed at crime prevention through community building at the local levels. In conjunction with this observance, 2013 is also the first year NNO has been officially recognized by the State of California. On July 9th, the State Senate unanimously approved a resolution by Senator Norma Torres (D-Pomona) establishing August 6, 2013 as National Night Out in the Golden State.

From 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on August 6th, residents in California and across the nation are invited to lock their doors, turn on outside lights, and step outside to enjoy the evening with neighbors while taking a united stand against crime. Cities and towns throughout the country will celebrate the occasion by hosting a variety of social events such as block parties, BBQ cookouts, ice cream socials, parades, and youth activities, all of which are attended by fellow residents and law enforcement.

The NNO campaign is designed to:
  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

CalVCP knows the immense toll that crime takes on victims and their loved ones. Over 150,000 violent crimes are reported in California each year, and many more are believed to go unreported due to fear or embarrassment. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year alone, CalVCP received over 53,000 applications for victim assistance. Given these startling statistics, the widespread reach of NNO renders it an invaluable vehicle for constructive dialogue and positive change. As a leading advocate in the fight against crime, CalVCP recognizes that a safer nation starts at the individual and community levels. A city is only as strong as the citizens that reside within it, and NNO represents a key step in making neighborhoods a safer place year round.

NNO was founded in 1984 as an effort by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) to promote civic engagement and involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, and neighborhood camaraderie. That year, 2.5 million Americans took part across 400 communities in 23 states. By 2012, NNO participation had expanded to 15,704 communities to unite 37.5 million people from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. NNO 2013 is expected to be the largest ever.

This August, let’s join forces with our neighbors nationwide to build community relationships and neighborhood unity and give crime the ultimate going away party.

Any municipality, law enforcement agency, crime prevention organization, community group, or neighborhood interested in participating in NNO 2013 is invited to register here.