Parallel Justice For Victims of Crime

Parallel Justice For Victims of Crime



 
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Information sheets about common crimes and questions

 

 

 

Getting a new Vermont Driver's License
Getting a new birth certificate
Getting a new Social Security Card
Getting a new passport
Information on identity theft
Personal Safety suggestions
Self defense and protection information
Home safety tips
Vehicle Safety and Security
How to be a good witness

 

Obtaining a New Drivers License

Having a wallet or purse stolen can have a significant impact on your life. Not only do you have to worry about missing money, but also your missing identification. Below are the steps to take to get a new license. If you have any questions, Parallel Justice is more than happy to help. In addition, feel free to contact the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at (802) 828-2000 or the Burlington branch at (802) 863-7292. The VT DMV website, http://www.dmv.state.vt.us is very helpful as well.

  1. When replacing a missing driver's license in Vermont , you will need to submit two forms of identification. Obviously, this can be challenging when your purse or wallet was stolen. Any state or government issued photo ID is preferable, as is a passport, certified birth certificate, or Citizen and Immigration Services document. You will need at least one of these. A secondary document is also needed, such as a picture student ID, social security card, health insurance card, employee ID card, or marriage certificate. This list is not exhaustive.
  2. Fill out the TA-VL-15 form. This can be found at the DMV website, or at your local DMV.
  3. A fee of $15 is needed if you are replacing your driver's license. If you are renewing your driver's license, the fee is more.
  4. Bring the identification, forms, and fee to your local DMV. The Burlington location is at 1193 North Avenue . For the location of other DMVs in Vermont , see http://dmv.state.vt.us

 

Obtaining a New Birth Certificate

To get a new copy of nearly any identifying document, such as passport or driver's license, a birth certificate is necessary. While it is important to keep this document in a secure location, it can be easy for one to misplace or lose a birth certificate. In some cases, they are even stolen. If this is the case, be sure to report it to the police, and see our handout about to identity theft.

If you were born in Vermont , the easiest way of obtaining your birth certificate is by visiting the town clerk's office in the town you were born in. The state has a website for contact information at http://vermont-archives.org/certifications/ , as well as an online request form. The fee for a certified copy of your birth certificate is $10, which Parallel Justice can assist you with. If you prefer to call, the number is (802) 828-3286.

For individuals who were not born in Vermont , it is fairly difficult to provide instructions that would apply to everyone, as each state is different. If you were not born in Vermont , one resource is the Center for Disease Control's website to find out how to obtain a birth certificate in the state that you were born. The website is http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm or call 1-800-232-4636

 

Obtaining a new Social Security Card

If you have your social security card stolen, or even if it is lost, we recommend reading our handout on Identity Theft. Contacting the proper agencies and alerting them is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself.

In order to get a replacement card, two requirements must be met.

•  Proof of Age: certified birth certificate, passport, final adoption degree, or religious record established before age five showing your age or date of birth are the only accepted means of proving one's age.

•  Proof of Identity: driver's license, state ID card, or passport are the preferred means of proving one's identity. U.S. military identity card, Certificate of Naturalization, or employee identity card.

Once obtaining this information, stop by your local Social Security office or visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov to obtain the correct forms for receiving a replacement social security card. There is no fee attached to this. The social security office in Burlington is located at 58 Pearl Street . You may also call them at 1-800-772-1213 for more information.

Remember, it is best to keep your social security card in a safe location instead of in your wallet, purse, or vehicle. Take it out only when necessary, such as when applying for a new job.

 

Obtaining a New Passport 

The process of obtaining a new passport after having one stolen is more or less the same as obtaining your first passport. This is an abbreviated list of the necessary steps to be taken when replacing your passport. If you need additional information, visit http://travel.state.gov/passport or visit your local post office or town clerk. All forms mentioned can be found at the above website or at your local post office or town clerk.

  1. If your passport is lost or stolen, the first thing you need to do is report it to the US Department of State by calling 1-877-487-2778 or by filling out form DS-64. Any passport reported here will be considered invalid and can no longer be used for travel. They can not be revalidated.
  2. Apply for a new passport by filling out for DS-11. If your passport is cancelled, you will need a copy of form DS-64 and DS-11. Both forms will need to be submitted, in person, to your local post office or town clerk.
  3. In addition, you will need additional documentation. This includes
    • Primary evidence of US Citizenship, such as a certified birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, or naturalization certificate
    • Primary Identification, such as a driver's license, state or military ID, or Naturalization Certificate. All identification must be current.
    • If primary evidence of US Citizenship or Identification is unavailable, secondary identification and/or sources of information are acceptable on a case by case basis. If this is the case, bring as much information as you can. If photo identification is unavailable, a qualified sworn witness who has known you for two years can confirm your identity. As usual, contact your local post office or town clerk for more information, or visit http://travel.state.gov/ for more information.
    • Various fees, which average $100, are also needed. Parallel Justice can help with these fees.
    • Two identical passport photos are needed as well. These can be obtained from many of Vermont 's Post Offices, including the Burlington Post Office, UPS Store, or even your local Rite Aid. Typically, fees are necessary for these photos as well.
  4. Once all the information, fees, and photos are submitted in person to your local post office or town clerk, it will take roughly 3-6 weeks to process. If you choose to pay additional fees, it can take as little as 2 weeks.

Parallel Justice is more than happy to help at any part in the process, particularly if your passport was stolen. Remember, these are very brief instructions, especially with regards to identifying information. If you need additional information, http://travel.state.gov/passport or your local post office or town clerk can be great help.

 

Identity Theft

Identity theft is when someone uses your indentifying information, such as name, social security number, birth date, credit card numbers, bank statements, etc. When they have this information, identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you are contacted by a debt collector.

To protect yourself ahead of time, shred or tear up any documents with your social security number, credit card numbers, birth date, bank statements, etc before throwing them away. On the internet, make sure you know who you are giving your personal information to

Unfortunately, most people find out about identity theft after a crime has been committed. Here are some ways to find out:

  • Keep an eye on bank statements and your credit score, and be wary of any unsolicited bills.
  • You are entitled to view your credit report for free once a year. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) recommends going through www.annualcreditreport.com for your credit report.
  • If you do not have internet access, you can also contact them by phone at 877-322-8228 or by mail at Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281 , Atlanta , GA 30348-5281 .

  • If you know you are a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:
  1. Contact one of the three credit report companies and ask them to place a fraud alert on your credit report. TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289, Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  2. Close any accounts in which you believe have been tampered with. When contacting them, ask to speak with someone in charge of security or fraud.
  3. File a complaint with the FTC by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT. By doing this, you are not only protecting yourself, but also assisting in catching the criminals.
  4. Report the identity theft to your local or state police department. This can be used to help dispute the problems caused by identity theft.
  5. Hold on to all documents, both before and after identity theft takes place. It can be used to help your case.

This is a very brief overview of Identity Theft. One of the best online resources for identity theft is http://www.idtheftcenter.org/artman2/publish/v_fact_sheets/Fact_Sheet_100_-_Financial_Identity_Theft_-_The_Beginning_Steps.shtml 

 

 

Personal Safety Suggestions

  • Remember, it is nearly impossible to guarantee your personal safety. These suggestions merely lower the likelihood of being a target.
  • Keep purses, parcels, and packages close to your body and if possible walk with few items.
  • If shopping after dark be sure to take well traveled streets and avoid walk alone.
  • If a situation makes you feel uncomfortable or you get a “funny feeling,” trust your instincts and leave
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and have a safety plan in case something happens.
  • Keep your head up and striding purposefully. Look aware of your surroundings and be aware of them. Headphones may give the impression that you are less aware.
  • If someone does try to steal from you, do not resist. Your personal safety is far more important than your property. Instead, become a good witness.
  • The Victims Compensation Program provides limited financial assistance to Vermont 's victims of violent crime who have experienced a financial loss as a direct result of that crime, as long as that loss is not reimbursable through other sources, such as insurance. For more information call 1-800-750-1213

 

Self Defense/Protection Information
  • The Burlington Police Department is unable to make specific recommendations about various technologies/methods of self-defense. General safety tips can be found at http://www.bpdvt.org/Informational%20Resources/Personal%20Safety.pdf
  • An important fact to keep in mind is that any weapon such as a handgun, pepper spray or even a baseball bat is something a potential attacker could use against you if they were to get their hands on it.
  • A 4-part women's self defense class, RAD (short for rape aggression defense) is taught throughout Burlington . UVM regularly offers these classes. The UVM schedule can be found here: http://www.uvm.edu/police/services/sched.html
 

 

Home Safety Tips

  • Have a home safety and evacuation plan, and ensure that everyone in your home knows it.
  • Trim trees and shrubs to ensure that persons do not have a place to conceal themselves and cannot climb to second floor windows. If possible, plant thorny bushes near the windows to deter people from entering.
  • Install and use deadbolt locks. Close and lock your windows, especially when you are gone or at night.
  • Make a list of all the valuables in your home and record serial numbers and/or descriptions of them, and keep them in a safe space.
  • If you are unsure about the safety of your residence, contact the Burlington Police Department and ask if they can conduct a security survey.
  • Renter's insurance is a fairly inexpensive way of protecting your belongings. If you own instead of rent, check out homeowner's insurance. They can both be a huge help when replacing stolen or damaged items during a crime.
  • Keeping a light on when you are not at home, or putting lights on a timer when you are out of town can be a deterrent for potential break ins.
 

 

Vehicle Safety and Security

•  Always lock your car when you are away from it, even if it is “just for a moment.” Keep all windows rolled up as well.

•  If you have a car alarm, be sure to use it. You may not be around to hear it when it goes off, but anyone within an earshot is going to turn their head towards your vehicle. The attention drawn to your vehicle is a deterrent.

•  If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, put them in the trunk where they are out of sight.

•  Record your license plate number and VIN number in a secure location away from the vehicle, as well as copies of your insurance and registration. In addition, it is best to keep the vehicle title in a secure location as well.

•  Know your insurance policy. Many lower priced insurance options do not cover vandalism, such as broken windows or slashed tires. If they do cover vandalism, many times the deductable is higher than the cost of a typical repair. If objects are stolen out of your vehicle, many times renter's or homeowner's insurance will cover the items.

•  There are still options! The city of Burlington has programs in place to help you if you happen to be a victim of vehicular vandalism. Contact Parallel Justice to find out how they can help you at 264-0764.

 

 

How to Be a Good Witness

When you witness a crime happening or a suspicious event, you are the expert on what is happening. If possible, find a way to write down what you see, as it can help you recount the details later.

  • Try to maintain a calm attitude/demeanor. The calmer you are, the easier it will be to remember details about what is happening.
  • Observe the physical appearance of the suspect. Watch the individual as long as you can without drawing any danger to yourself. Note the obvious: race, sex, approximate age, weight and height. Then note hair and eye color, complexion, clothing, and any distinguishing features such as glasses, scars, tattoos, moles, visible piercings, teeth, speech, facial hair, and/or clothing.
  • Observe which exit they took, including direction of travel. Street names are helpful
  • If visible, capture a vehicle description. Do not put yourself in danger to do so. Color, year, make, body type, license plate and state are all important. If possible, note any dents, broken parts, or anything out of the ordinary as well.
  • Be sure to note the time of day, how long the even occurred, and what happened. The more details you have the better chance the police can take the proper actions.

Remember that when you call 911, it is very important to speak clearly. Remember to tell them where you are, if there are any injuries, and if there was a weapon involved. This will allow the police and other personal to prepare adequately in order to help you the best they can. And always remember, your personal safety is more important than anything else!