Crime Doesn’t Pay. Or Does It?


🎧 Press PLAY to hear the blogs author read it to you.🎧

When we we’re kids most of us heard at one point or another, the words, ‘crime doesn’t pay’. Let me start off by saying that that ideology is a complete myth. The fact is crime does pay, and it can pay big time. Now I don’t mean big time as in doing a lot of time down at some prison somewhere. I’m talking big time as in big bucks. In fact, criminals themselves are the ones forced to put their own money into a bank set up by the Dept. of Justice and the Office for Victims of Crime is the teller at this bank. This bank can not only pay your bills, but they can also send you a check!

Allow me to explain.

Crime’s been around since Cain, while in a jealous rage, murdered Abel. Here in 2021, it’s no different. Crimes are still happening but now they’re occurring more often and have increased in severity. Not only that, but crimes that were predominantly committed in one geographical area are now spreading out into areas that used to be much safer. Take the Chicago area for example. Crimes that typically occurred, mostly in impoverished areas, are now occurring in affluent areas as well. It’s even gotten to a point to where crimes that were mostly carried out at night, under the cover of darkness, are now occurring in broad day light with little or no concern of repercussions for the offenders. And if that wasn’t bad enough, school shootings have increased. So much so, that there’s now a market for bullet proof backpacks for high school students. This can not only leave people feeling hesitant about going out in public, but it can also leave them unexpectedly dealing with financial hardships should something happen. Unforeseen financial hardships like medical bills. Lost wages. Or worst case, funeral expenses. This is where the Office for Victims of Crime can help, financially.

So, what’s the Office for Victims of Crime?

The Office for Victims of Crime, or OVC for short, is an office under the Office of Justice Programs, or OJP. That office, the OJP, is a branch under the bigger umbrella we know as the Dept. of Justice, or DOJ. It’s in the OVC, under the OJP, under the DOJ, where the money can be found. You might be thinking that sounds like a door behind a door held together by Red Tape, and you’d be right. Not only am I going to tell you about this hidden door, but I’m also going to advise you on who in your local area can help you cut through the forest of red tape. But before we cover who your local helper is that can help you navigate through the forest of Red Tape in order to get to that hidden door, let’s first talk about the door itself.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) was established by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) to provide Federal funds in support of victim assistance and compensation programs around the country and to advocate for the fair treatment of crime victims. In short, the OVC is an office created to help victims dealing with burdens brought about as a result of the crime. It’s designed to provide support to victims in the form of service and finance. They also assist states and territories in providing both service and finance for the residents of the state or territory.

Each state, and territory, have access to federal funds found in this program. Although each state has different ways of handling the funds and amounts they give to victims, the funds are there and available. In fact, most of the funds aren’t even used up as most victims either don’t apply for the assistance or give up applying for them after hitting a brick wall. I’ll get back to that in a minute. That said, the amount of funds provided can and do differ from state to state. Take my home state of Illinois vs. Kentucky for example.

In 1973, Illinois created the Crime Victims Compensation Program which is operated under the Illinois Attorney General. Their program provides victims with up to $27,000 for expenses related to the crime. $7,500 of which can be used to cover burial expenses. In Kentucky, it too is called the Crime Victims Compensation Program but is overseen by the Crime Victims Compensation Board, not the attorney general. Their program can provide up to $28,000. Although they can provide a thousand dollars more than Illinois, the funds allowed for burial assistance is capped at $5,000. So, you see, there are some differences, but these programs are in all states and territories and the Federal Government gives each one of them a share of the funds for these programs.

Now you might be saying,

Well, that’s all fine and dandy. But at the beginning of this blog didn’t you say that it was the ‘criminals’ who were forced to put their own money into this bank? Last I checked, the Dept. of Justice is under a branch of the government. And the government’s funded by our taxes. Not criminals.

And you’d be right, if that were entirely accurate. Here’s how the OVC is funded. Whenever someone is sent to federal court and pays a fine, the money they pay goes to the Department of Justice. Then, the Dept. of Justice allocates those funds to the OVC. This funding, now in the hands of the OVC, is then distributed to all the states and territories which in turn use it for their states Crime Victim Compensation Fund. The states then set aside that money and when someone files a claim, and it’s approved, that money then goes toward the victims’ expenses related to the crime itself.

More information on the OVC can be found on their website,

That pretty much covers the door. Now let’s talk about the forest of Red Tape. The first thing I want to mention is, don’t try to cut through the forest of Red Tape on your own. There is a lot to handle when filing a claim for funds from any government. And if you’re a victim of a crime, you’ve already got enough on your plate. You should have someone by your side, willing and able, to help you get through this. Trying to go through it alone can be very stressful. Emotions experienced as a result of the crime only make navigating the Red Tape Forest more difficult. This is one of the predominant reasons why a lot of the funds go unused. It becomes so hard for the victim applying on their own, that they simply give up. Don’t go it alone. Use help.

That said, let’s talk about the ones who can help you cut through the forest. There are several people in many agencies across the nation that can help you navigate the forest of red tape. Mainly because they have the latest, most current, map of the forest. Some of these people are Police. Local, State & Federal government officials. Pro Bono Lawyers (yes, they really do exist). Victims Groups. Others include advocates like Public Service Councilors at local and state police departments. Hospital Patient Advocates. Court Advocates. Constituent Service Representatives in your congressional district (both State and Federal). Those are just a few but should help you begin your journey. But no matter what, don’t give up. You can do it.

For Adviser Speaks, I’m Professional Speaker Paul Calhoun, and YOU have just been advised!

About Paul Calhoun

Chicago based Professional Speaker Paul Calhoun is a 3rd generation Power Broker, multi-published author and mental health advocate. He’s also a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor. A title accredited him by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing. For more information, CLICK HERE  to download Pauls’ Speaker One Sheet.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments