People impacted by prostitution, drug abuse and other crimes in their Hamilton neighborhoods are invited to the city’s police department at 6:30 p.m. tonight to help create Neighborhood Crime Victim Impact statements. FILE PHOTO

Hamilton residents to share concerns about crime, judicial sentences tonight

The goal is to let local judges know the impact people are feeling from crimes like prostitution, drug abuse and theft.

“Efforts to curtail crime in our communities are often hampered by the judicial system, which often releases low level offenders (prostitutes, drug use/abuse, theft etc.) back into the general population with no jail time,” Frank Downie, leader of PROTOCOL (People Reaching Out To Others Celebrating Our Lindenwald), wrote in an email.

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Sometimes those charged are first-time or low-level offenders, and sometimes there isn’t enough jail space, Downie wrote, “but the result is the same. Alleged criminals are right back on the streets conducting ‘business as usual.’”

“In an effort to hold individuals accountable, Mayor Pat Moeller has offered to lend his legal expertise in adopting a ‘Neighborhood Crime Victim Impact,’ statement,” Downie wrote. “Such a document would let judges know that citizens who volunteer countless hours to create safer, cleaner and more engaged neighborhoods find this practice unacceptable.”

Moeller will meet 6:30 p.m. at Hamilton Police Headquarters, 331 S. Front St., with people from city neighborhoods who are interested in drafting the impact statement.

Police Sgt. Rich Burkhardt, a department spokesperson, said in addition to the mayor, “our Neighbor Policing Officers will interact with citizens concerning the Neighborhood Crime Victim Impact statement.”

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“Many citizens in Hamilton are involved in keeping their neighborhood safe,” he said. “A neighborhood Crime Victim Impact (statement) is a way for them to voice their concerns to the court concerning the happenings in their neighborhood.”

Citizens often serve as extra “eyes and ears” for police. But citizens often can’t take off work to attend court.

“So,” Burkhardt said, “this is a way our involved citizens can convey to the court how these activities affect their neighborhood.”

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