Group Provides Support to Families of Homicide Victims

Buffalo, NY – A local organization is working to improve the line of communication between law enforcement and families of homicide victims.

One of the biggest complaints from some of the families of Buffalo homicide victims is the lack of information from local law enforcement. But Parents Encouraging Accountability Closure for Everyone, or PEACE, is working to brake down those barriers. Peace President Theresa Evans lost her only child in a city homicide back in 1993.

"Most of our members have lost someone to a homicide. So we've walked in their shoes, and we understand their pain and suffering, and how complicated and confusing it is to get information," Evans said.

Evans says the PEACE organization helps connect these families with the police and district attorney's office as they search for information that surrounds the homicide investigation. Last week, the Buffalo Common Council recognized PEACE for their work. Former Common Council member David Collins is part of that effort.

"The word is if you want to commit a homicide, you go to Buffalo, New York," Collins said. "Six chances out of ten, you won't get caught. That is the word out on the street. That is a terrible thing to be said about the city.

"Hopefully the police will devote more energy to solving those crimes and getting the guns off the street. That is the real issue."

Collins says sometimes the mother of a homicide victim is denied access to the crime scene. He says they are often treated like criminals. But Collins says the organization believes the city's new police commissioner will be making changes and present innovative ways to deal with future homicide investigations.

PEACE will be hosting a meeting with local law enforcement, the district attorney's office and families on April 26th.