South Dakota Launches New Automated Notification System for Victims, But Not All Crime Victims Will Have Access To It

Recently, the state launched a new automated notification system for crime victims called the Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification (SAVIN) program. The South Dakota SAVIN program is a free, automated service that provides crime victims with vital information and notification 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This service will allow victims to obtain offender information and to register for notification of a change in offender status, such as offender release. Victims sign up to receive text messages, emails or voicemails through the new system.

While this new system is a major step forward for crime victims in South Dakota, it can be made much better by passing Marsy’s Law (Amendment S). Unfortunately, most victims won’t have access to the new SAVIN system because it is programmed for current South Dakota law – which only recognizes victims of certain crimes under the legal definition of “victim.” As a result, SAVIN currently only applies to victims of crimes of violence, simple assault between persons in a relationship, stalking or victims of a driving under the influence vehicle accident. There are many serious crimes for which the victims have no rights under current SD law, including vehicular homicide, burglary (2nd and 3rd degree), arson, simple assault, misdemeanor sexual assaults, intimidation, harassment, reckless driving, theft, fraud, vandalism, identify theft, embezzlement, human trafficking, or hate crimes.

All crime victims should have access to SAVIN. The foundation of the system is already paid for and it can be expanded for less than $400,000 so all crime victims can utilize it. This is a very minimal cost for a system that can provide a valuable service to thousands of crime victims in South Dakota every year. SAVIN provides the foundation for the notification requirements in Marsy’s Law without requiring counties or State’s Attorneys to hire new employees. This new technology will make State’s Attorney offices more efficient and improve the services being provided to victims.

We applaud Attorney General Jackley, the legislature and the law enforcement officials who helped enact this important new program. It is a good first step and now we have the opportunity to make it even better by passing Marsy’s Law. Vote Yes on S in November to continue our state’s stride towards better serving victims of crime!

If you are a crime victim under the current legal definition in South Dakota, you visit this link to register for SAVIN.