CRIME COMMISSION FORM AUTO BREAK-IN WITNESS FUND
PHILADELPHIA, March 16, 2000 – Victims of Center City vehicle break-ins who testify to the crime in
court will receive compensation for their appearances through a new fund
sponsored by State Senator Vincent J. Fumo (D-Philadelphia.)
Fumo announced the pilot program at a news
conference today with District Attorney Lynne Abraham, leaders of the
Delaware Valley Citizens Crime Commission, and Philadelphia Police
Department Commissioner John Timoney. The Crime Commission will administer
“Too many repeat offenders wind up back on
the street because the victims fail to appear in court to testify,” Fumo
said. “Often, it is because the victims must take time off work and face
parking expenses and the other inconveniences of coming to court.
“This will help in a small way to
compensate those who appear to testify.”
To qualify, witnesses must appear in court
when necessary until the case is concluded. They will receive $75 per day
for each appearance, up to a maximum of $300 per case.
The program applies to vehicles that have
been broken into (not stolen) in the Center City Police Districts, the
Sixth and the Ninth.
An arrest must be made, and the victims must cooperate with the district attorney until final disposition of the case. The vehicle also must have current registration and insurance coverage.
Vehicle break-in is the most frequently committed crime in the Sixth and Ninth Police Districts, and the rate is higher there than in any other section of Philadelphia. Last year in those two Center City districts, there were more than 4,000 vehicle break-ins, or about one-fourth of the break-ins in the entire city.
“Vandalism of automobiles is a major crime
affecting the quality of life in Philadelphia,” Fumo said. “Arrests
and prosecutions are extremely difficult, so we hope this compensation
program results in more of these criminals being punished.”
Fumo and the Crime Commission have teamed up
on several other occasions in recent years to fight vehicle-related
crimes. In 1998, they created the Chop-Shop Tip Line, to which people can
call anonymously to report locations where stolen vehicles are
disassembled for the sale of their parts. They receive a reward if their
tip results in an arrest.
Later that year, they created a grant
program for owners of frequently stolen types of vehicles in high crime
areas of the city. Such owners can purchase the Lojack Recovery System at
a discounted price.
Fumo’s state Senatorial District includes
The Citizens Crime Commission of the Delaware Valley, founded in 1955,
is a non-profit organization supported by corporate sponsorship and its
Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo