By Dawn Krebs
TREASURE COAST - Throughout the year, when bad things happen to good people, it is the criminal who gets the focus of the attention.
But once a year, a week is taken to focus on the victims of crime, during the National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which runs this year from April 21 to 28.
"We want to make the community more aware of victim issues," said Lane Frye, who is the treasurer for the 19th Judicial Circuit. "The community is invited to participate."
This is the 16th year events focusing on the rights of victims have been held annually on the Treasure Coast. It has been recognized nationally since 1981.
Some of the events have registration or attendance charges, with the proceeds going to help victims.
"The victims have so many needs, and this will go to help them," she said.
Ms. Frye said that it is difficult to get the word out.
"For someone that has had their house robbed, that can be emotionally and physically draining," she said. "So many times we work with victims who say they didn't even know we existed."
The first event is the eighth annual motorcycle "Ride for Rights," which takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 20. Registration for the event is $15 and will start at the St. Lucie County Sheriff's office and end at City Park in Okeechobee. The $15 includes the ride, a raffle ticket and barbecue when done. For more information, call Lissette Maldonado at (772) 462-3617 or Terry Owen at (772) 344-4331. This event is cosponsored by the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office.
Also on Saturday, April 20, there will be the 2nd Annual Brian Simpson Memorial 5K Run/Walk, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at South Beach Park in Vero Beach. Registration is available through Runner's Depot. For more information, call (772) 569-7364.
A free woman's self-defense class will be held on Tuesday, April 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, 4055 41st Ave., Vero Beach. Registration is required and those interested can call (772)978-6416.
A remembrance ceremony for victims of crime will be held at noon on Wednesday, April 24 at the St. Lucie County Courthouse, 215 S. Second St., Fort Pierce.
A memorial vigil for victims of crime will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m. at 350 Dahlia Lane, Vero Beach.
Finally, an appreciation luncheon will be held Friday, April 26 at noon at the old city hall, 315 Avenue A, Fort Pierce. Tickets cost $25.
For more information about the events, or about victim rights, contact Ms. Frye at (772) 462-1390.