The New York Police Department has intensified its efforts to combat a particularly stubborn and daunting source of murders: domestic violence, reports the New York Times. Over the past several years, the department has bolstered the size of the staff at its domestic violence unit by about 40 percent, with 450 police officers now focused on families with histories of violence.
The police are now making more domestic violence arrests, while murders linked to domestic violence appear to have declined slightly. Officers assigned to the domestic violence unit make about 70,000 precautionary visits a year to the households with past episodes. Each precinct station house also maintains a “high propensity” list of a dozen or so households that get special attention due to a risk of further violence. Police see success in an area once thought to be intractable. In 2011, there were 47 homicides involving “intimate partners,” 39 last year, and 21 so far this year.