Profits from Nov. 7 race to benefit victims of crime; 5-K run, 2-K walk begins at Park Plaza center


A nonprofit organization and Anne Arundel County prosecutors are staging their second annual foot race Nov. 7 to benefit a fund to provide crime victims with emergency financial help.

The Victims' Fund has provided about $3,000 to four crime victims since January. It has bought tires for a woman who could not afford to replace her vandalized ones and needed a car to get to work. It also paid part of a medical insurance premium for an assault victim, said Maureen Gilmer, victims-witness coordinator for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office.

The fund is not designed to replace court-ordered restitution for crime victims or the state's compensation fund, which reimburses for such things as funeral expenses. But neither of those provides immediate money to people who might need windows replaced after a break-in or medical treatment they might forgo because they cannot afford the insurance co-payment. In Arundel, police will be given cards alerting victims that the fund exists.

"This is an emergency fund. It is to get people out of a jam," Gilmer said.

The Victims' Fund has paid for repair of a convertible top so that a vandalized car would not suffer water damage, but it did not contribute to cosmetic repairs.

The fund is one of two in the state operated locally. It is the only one funded exclusively by donations. Unlike Montgomery County's victim compensation fund, the Victims' Fund is administered by a private, nonprofit group -- Take Back Our Streets -- not a government agency. By law, the Anne Arundel prosecutor's office cannot administer the fund.

Take Back Our Streets was established in 1992 to provide financial resources for police helping children in poor communities. Since then, the group has bought two buses, sponsored tutoring and taken impoverished children on day trips, among other projects.

"We decided that because it was victims of crime, it would be part of our mission to help take care of them," said Ed Koch, former Anne Arundel deputy police chief.

Last year's 5-kilometer run netted about $8,000. About 400 people ran and a half-dozen businesses provided refreshments and prizes. This year, the event will add a 2-kilometer walk, more prizes and more drawings.

The race will begin at the Park Plaza shopping center in Severna Park, head north and make a loop on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail Park. The shorter walk will head south and make a loop.

Registration opens at 6: 45 a.m. with the race starting at 8: 15 a.m. The entry fee is $15 in advance and $18 on race day. Forms are available in stores or through the state's attorney's office.

Pub Date: 10/14/99

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