Women in Brooklyn are more likely to be murdered by their husbands and lovers than complete strangers, a city report released last week explains.
Following a comprehensive study of murders in the city between 2003 and 2006, officials at the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene determined that nearly half of the women murdered in the five boroughs died during domestic disputes at the hands of their intimate partner.
Brooklyn had the second highest amount of intimate partner deaths in the city during that time period, officials said.
These murders were clustered in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick, as well as Flatbush, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay and Coney Island, the report showed.
Officials said that 1.2 deaths per 100,000 deaths in Brooklyn were the result of intimate partner violence.
Intimate partner violence was also responsible for 4,000 hospital emergency visits throughout the city in 2005 alone, said officials.
An anonymous survey held between 2003 and 2005 revealed that 69,000 women in the city over the age of 18 reported fearing their intimate partner.
To this day, the number of murders sparked by intimate partner violence – against both women and men – continues to grow.
Just this past summer, police in Bensonhurst arrested a woman who allegedly tied down, tortured and then killed her husband.
At roughly the same time, detectives in the 76th Precinct in Red Hook arrested a man who killed his wife during a bloody domestic violence dispute.
A few weeks later, the same detectives arrested a New Jersey man who killed his gay lover during a spat inside his Carroll Gardens home, officials said.
“Every act of intimate partner violence is a crime and a tragedy,” said New York City Health Department Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden “No woman should be threatened or abused, let alone in her home or by her partner.”
Since most of the intimate partner deaths were the results of domestic disputes, city officials have encouraged the NYPD to bolster their domestic violence prevention strategies.
Currently, officers assigned to individual domestic violence units at neighborhood precincts take reports, provide support services and conduct follow up visits to make sure that no further violence is occurring in the household.
“The NYPD has increased our home visits to past victims of domestic violence by 130% since 2001,” explained Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “Specially trained officers stop by, talk to them, see how they’re doing, and make sure we don’t see a recurrence of the problem.”
Kelly said that as a result of these home visits, the NYPD saw a 40% drop in domestic violence homicides in 2007, and a 32% decline in assaults.
Yet more education is necessary.
“Victims of domestic murders tend not to have reported domestic violence previously,” he said. “The police need to know about domestic violence to curtail it and to try to prevent it from escalating. Victims and the public at-large do themselves and society a great service by reporting domestic violence.”
The Department of Health’s study show that teens are less likely than adults to report abuse by a partner, even though the data collected suggested that violence can begin at early age, with one in ten public high school girls claiming that they’d been assaulted by their intimate partner in the last year..
The study also shows that women in their 20s suffered more intimate partner murders than other age groups.
Higher rates of intimate partner murders were also found in Black and Hispanic communities with very low median incomes, the report indicated.
The majority of intimate partner violence cases took place in north, central and south Brooklyn, as well as the South Bronx and the Rockaways, city officials said.
The Bronx had the most number if intimate partner murders and were blamed for 1.8 out of 100,000 deaths, officials said.
The study also determined that Brooklyn has more women than any other borough.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 1,089,886 of the 3,565,753 women over the age of 12 in the city – or 31 percent -- called Brooklyn their home.
Queens came in second, with just over 986,000 female residents.