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Domestic Incident Arrests On The Rise In Greenburgh

A map of Westchester County shows the number of domestic incidents reported per capita in each municipality. Greenburgh is 14th-highest, with 11.5 incidents per 1,000 residents.
A map of Westchester County shows the number of domestic incidents reported per capita in each municipality. Greenburgh is 14th-highest, with 11.5 incidents per 1,000 residents. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — In 2010, a total of 482 domestic incidents were reported in Greenburgh, with only 8 percent of the incidents leading to arrests. At 11.5 incidents per 1,000 residents, that ranks Greenburgh at No. 14 among 42 municipalities for incidents reported in Westchester County.

The number of domestic incidents in Greenburgh is still on a gradual rise so far in 2013, but nearly 20 percent of the cases are now leading to arrests, Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo said.

"We've spent more time training on this and have dedicated more resources to do follow-ups," DeCarlo said. "We've made changes in our own department on how to better handle these incidents."

The latest figures are from 2010, the most recently available information comparing municipalities countywide, and  were compiled by the Westchester County Office for Women. Data show that Mount Vernon, per capita, had the highest number of reported cases, followed by New Rochelle, White Plains, Peekskill and Buchanan.

The statistics do not take into account the many rape cases that go unreported, officials said.

Many police departments have seen a spike of domestic violence cases in the past four years since New York changed the definition of a domestic relationship and expanded it to include intimate partners, which can constitute ex-spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, and same-sex partners.

"In these domestic violence reports, there are a lot of incidents between siblings, parents — it really encompasses a large amount of statistics," DeCarlo said. "It's not just your typical husband and wife issue, it's a family issue."

Nancy Levin, chief development officer at My Sister's Place, a White Plains service for victims of domestic violence, said many Westchester residents don't have a clear understanding that domestic violence is happening "right in our backyard."

"It's not a trend or a difference in incidence from year to year. It's a public health issue," Levin said.

Westchester has seen its share of domestic violence incidents in the news in recent years.

In July 2012, a Greenburgh man was charged with third-degree assault after police said he whipped his girlfriend with an electrical cord during an argument.

More recently, Theresa Gorski, a Sleepy Hollow mother of two, died in January after she was reportedly choked her to death . Gorski's husband, Christopher Howson, is facing murder charges.

Domestic violence is an across-the-board issue that counseling services like My Sister's Place hope to help prevent, Levin said.

“We are trying to change the way society thinks about intimate partner abuse and the culture that allows for it,” she said.

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