Good Samaritans: Volunteers Helping Victims Program Handbook and Training Guide, a new e-guide from the Office of Victims of Crime, is designed to train volunteers to provide services that include securing victims’ homes after a break-in, offering emotional support, and linking victims with community services. Before the Good Samaritans program began in Mobile County, Alabama, many vulnerable crime victims had no one to turn to. Since 2003, however, these victims have been able to call on these volunteers to help them feel more secure in their homes after a crime and to refer them to the services they need.
A community initiative led by the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office and supported by the Office for Victims of Crime, Good Samaritans has been replicated in several communities in Mobile County, Alabama, and Jackson County, Mississippi. The program unites law enforcement and faith-based and community organizations to train and mobilize volunteers who can help the most vulnerable victims of crime. “This is an important service to the community because serious crime continues to plague Mobile County,” said District Attorney John Tyson, Jr. “According to state and federal crime statistics, our countywide crime rate is substantially higher than the rest of the nation. There are far too many crime victims and not nearly enough law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and victim service professionals to help them all.” To obtain more information about the training guide (NCJ 225703), access the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s Web site, http://www.ncjrs.gov.