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Thanks to a new city computer system, victims of violent crime automatically will be called within hours of the release or escape of their assailants.

VINE, or Victim Information and Notification Everyday, also features a 24-hour hot line for anyone who wants to track a defendant's passage through the criminal-justice system, said Michael Jacobson, the city's corrections commissioner.

The city joins jurisdictions in 24 other states that contracted with the Louisville, Ky.-based Vine Co. to set up similar programs, said company spokeswoman Juliette Grace.

Most of the people who have used the system elsewhere are victims of domestic violence, stalking or sex crimes, officials said.

While an offender's status always has been public information, victims often have had to make repeated phone calls to numerous agencies to find out where their attackers were, officials said.

Victims and others can call a toll-free number -- 1-888-VINE-4NY -- on a touch-tone phone any time to learn an inmate's whereabouts.

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