Remembrance wall honors crime victims

By Lorne Fultonberg

April 22, 2013 Updated Apr 23, 2013 at 12:46 AM EDT

Johnson City (WBNG Binghamton) Friends and families of crime victims gathered at the Oakdale Mall to remember those lost.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week not only honors the lives of those who died, but also allows others to think about the future: What can be done to prevent deadly incidents of crime?

"Although this is a beautiful and fitting tribute to crime victims in Broome County," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston, "The 134 names on this wall are 134 too many."

Flowers, photos and words hung on a temporary wall outside Macy's. Friends and family shed tears, reminisced and remembered those who had passed away due to crime -- whether it was decades ago or just months.

"The pain will never go away," said Karen Moorehead, whose son, Robert, died in a car with a drunk driver nearly two years ago. "It gets harder every day that we go on. And justice hasn't been served yet. We're still waiting on the trial. It just gets harder."

"It will be like a life sentence for me and the family," said Beth Lord, a friend of Michael Mills, who was killed in Deposit last September. "We have to suffer this for the rest of our lives. It's been a year and a half, two years, and they say it gets easier, but it gets harder, I know."

State and local politicians spoke to the families, offering their support and promising to crack down on crime.

"I vow that Broome County will be as vigilant as ever when it comes to responding to crimes and violence in our community," Preston said. "This is not the world we grew up in. Evil and hate are far too common in the world today.

Preston urged residents to report a crime when it's witnessed, and to be there for the victims.

Broome County Sheriff David Harder outlined two new policies that will keep friends and families of victims more informed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared April 21-27 to be Victims' Rights Week, and encouraged New Yorkers to reflect on how they can improve safety in their respective communities.

Those close to the victims said they appreciated the gesture.

"It is nice to see that they do recognize the victims of crime," Lord said. "It's nice to have their support and hopefully in the future it results in less crime."

Crime Victims' Rights Week has been nationally recognized since 1981. It is designed to call attention to the effects of crime on its victims and on their families and to remind people of the services available to assist victims.

The wall will remain standing until April 29.