South Philly Review: Evans welcomes growing support for Victim Act

Congressman Dwight Evans is co-leading a $360 million anti-crime and victim aid bill that has picked up bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

“I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan bill that would help our state and local police solve more fatal and non-fatal shooting cases. This would be a huge win for public safety in Philadelphia and across the country – district attorneys can’t bring cases that don’t reach them, so this would help make our neighborhoods safer,” Evans said. “As someone who has pushed for help for victims of gun violence, I’m also very pleased that this bill would provide victims and family members with mental health resources and assistance with shelter, wage and relocation costs.”

Evans said he hopes the bill can build on the recent overwhelmingly bipartisan House passage of a bill that would expand the Child Tax Credit and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. That bill is pending in the Senate.

Evans said the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods Act is designed to improve clearance rates for homicides and violent gun crimes by allocating funds for hiring and retaining detectives and evidence-processing personnel to investigate and solve homicides and violent gun crimes; acquiring, upgrading or replacing investigative, evidence-processing or forensic testing technology or equipment; training detectives and personnel in effective procedures and techniques; developing evidence-based practices to improve clearance rates; and ensuring victims and family members of homicide victims receive mental health treatment, grief counseling, relocation support, emergency shelter and transportation.

The bill would require grantees to report their use of the funds and how it affected clearance rates to the Department of Justice. Additionally, the National Institute of Justice would conduct periodic evaluations of the grant programs to identify practices and procedures that successfully improved clearance rates for homicides and have potential to be scaled nationally. All reports and data collected from individual grant recipients would be compiled by the DOJ and provided to Congress.