BY ANGELA MATUA
The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) will be cracking down on stalking as they expand their Coordinated Approach to Preventing Stalking (CAPS) program into Queens.
The NYPD will work with the Queens District Attorney’s Office and OCDV to increase the identification and reporting of stalking incidents, enhance stalking arrests and link stalking victims to services through Family Justice Centers and High Risk Domestic Violence Response Teams, according to a press release.
Queens will be the second borough in New York City to implement the program. The expansion comes on the heels of a successful implementation in Staten Island in 2014, where the NYPD’s identification of stalking increased 233 percent. According to national statistics, 54 percent of female homicide victims reported stalking to the police before they were killed by their partner.
The 101st, 103rd, 105th and 113th precincts will roll out the program, as they have high incidences of domestic violence. The program will act as a homicide prevention program that will connect stalking victims to preventative services before physical assault or homicide takes place.
According to the 2014 New York City Domestic Violence Fatality Committee annual report, there were 62 family-related homicides, which accounted for 1 in 5 homicides in New York city.
“Domestic violence is a stain on our city, and inspired approaches to rooting it out, like CAPS, are critical as we work toward a DV-free New York,” de Blasio said. “The troubling but true data on stalking tells us that the more cases identified by law enforcement, the fewer homicides we’ll suffer in this city. I am confident that the capable and committed people at the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD will make the same commitment to reducing stalking in Queens.”
NYPD officers, members of the District Attorney’s Office and community partners will receive specialized training on how to identify stalking behavior, a briefing on stalking statutes, the role technology plays in stalking, risk assessment and safety planning, and working with victims to document and preserve evidence of stalking incidents.
“It is great to see a program that has had such a positive impact in other parts of the city come to Queens,” Councilman I. Daneek Miller said. “All individuals deserve safety. Identifying and preventing stalking cases is a major part of this for partners throughout our city. There is a high correlation between stalking and other criminal activities that this program will aim to prevent. This is an opportunity to shine a light on domestic violence issues that exist within our community and address a serious problem in a holistic manner.”