This week, the nation will observe Crime Victims’ Rights Week, an annual commemoration of the many millions of Americans victimized each year in crimes ranging from petty to life shattering. The week also honors the dedicated advocates who support and champion crime victims as they make the often impossibly difficult transition from sufferer to survivor.
While the number of crimes perpetrated each year is staggering, the statistics are even more shocking when you add in the millions of spouses, parents, children, siblings and friends who represent the wider sphere of a criminal’s collateral damage.
Crime is the great equalizer. Victims are young, old, rich, poor, black, white, and those working to help and support crime victims also represent a diverse cross section of America.
Take us, for example, a female sergeant from Richmond and a male corporate executive, raised in New Jersey. On the surface, we have little in common other than a shared hope that our efforts can help make just one crime victim’s life easier, particularly those affected by domestic violence.
Our paths crossed five years ago because of the Verizon Wireless HopeLine phone recycling program, an effort that has provided more than $10 million in donations to domestic violence prevention groups around the country, including sizable contributions to nonprofits in the Commonwealth. The program grew out of the simple understanding that as wireless technology advances, consumers make new purchases, leaving untold millions of no-longer-used cell phones waiting to be recycled.
One of us has become a collecting crusader, traveling to the far reaches of Virginia to pick up phones destined for recycling, while the other one has the great pleasure of turning those piles of phones into Verizon Wireless HopeLine donations for cash-strapped prevention groups. One of us lost a parent at a young age in a domestic violence incident, a tragic fact that helped launch a career in public safety, while the other one has enjoyed a career with a corporation that believes in giving back to the communities in which it operates.
This April, in recognition of Crime Victims Week, we have a simple request: If you have a wireless phone or accessory you’re not using, please recycle it through HopeLine. HopeLine donations support a wide range of domestic violence victim services – from outfitting shelters to bi-lingual advocacy programs to services for children traumatically affected by witnessing a parent’s abuse. Please help us commemorate all crime victims this month by sending a message of hope.
Carol Adams is a sergeant with the Richmond Police Department, and Mike Maiorana is regional president of Verizon Wireless. For more information on the HopeLine program, www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline