(KSLA) - "Police are not the criminals. The criminals are not the victims. And the victims are what this system is supposed to be all about and about serving."
Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator shared those thoughts Monday as officials kicked off the observance of Crime Victims Rights Week.
The theme is Expand The Circle: Reach All Victims.
Those involved in the effort hope that such attention ultimately leads to more help for crime victims and better funding.
Each year, people fall victim to an estimated 5 million violent crimes and nearly 15 million property crimes in the United States.
Those figures have led to programs aimed at helping victims get the support they need.
"National Crime Victims' Rights Week is a very special time to celebrate how far we have come in the fight for victims' rights," Caddo sheriff's Deputy Vickie Johnson said during a ceremony outside the Caddo Courthouse in downtown Shreveport.
Danny Weaver spoke to those gathered about a head-on crash Dec. 18, 2014, on Jewella Avenue in Shreveport that eventually claimed the lives of his parents, Clayton and Linda Weaver.
The driver of a pickup lost control of the truck while being chased by police, authorities said. Dash camera footage later released by police shows the truck cross the center line and collide with the Weavers' car.
Weaver's mother died days after the crash, while his father succumbed to his injuries two months later.
Danny Weaver explained Monday that Caddo's crime victim assistance program proved to be invaluable financially during that time.
"It was just a wonderful blessing to our family after such a tremendous loss."
The program compensates some elderly crime victims and victims of violent crimes for their losses.
Other assistance is provided through Project Celebration for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and through Gingerbread House for victims of crimes against children.
WHAT: Community awareness fair and safety fun day
WHEN: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Sheriff's Safety Town on Jewella Avenue in southwest Shreveport.