Rally urges action to fight crime, aid survivors

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — A group of crime victims and their allies rallied on the state Capitol steps Tuesday to call for changes, three days after a shooting in Philadelphia killed three and wounded 11.

The Survivors Speak Pennsylvania event, hosted by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, drew some 100 people to Harrisburg to urge lawmakers to act on a set of proposals designed to stem crime and aid victims.

Among priorities are efforts to tackle the causes of crime and to aid survivors through housing and employment support, compensation and programs to reduce recidivism.

Robert Rooks, a leader in the effort, told rallygoers it’s been a decade since he and others set out to change a system in which they felt victims of crime were not heard or seen and were routinely left out of discussions on justice policy making.

“There’s no better time than now to listen to victims,” Rooks said, bringing up the Philadelphia shooting. “What should we do? Well, I have an answer for you: listen to victims.”

Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice claims nearly 5,000 members in Pennsylvania and more than 90,000 nationwide.