Domestic Violence Most Frequent Public Safety Problem in Allegheny County

By Elisa Anderson

MONROEVILLE, Pa. — Domestic house calls to the local policing authority of Allegheny County have risen to become the most frequent concern regarding public safety.

Domestic house calls usually pertain to acts of violence, and include offenders of all ages and races. They also involve both male and female confrontations. Domestic violence is commonly referred to as a pattern of abusive behavior by one or both partners who are involved in intimate or blood-related relationships.

Swissvale area officer Shawn Granger told the media on Sunday, “I believe that domestics are not the crime of choice but they occur most often due to the economy and the high stress level it has created that can lead to drug/alcohol problems that also create household problems.”

In response to the growing concern for public safety in Allegheny County, Granger said the local community holds meetings open to the public in which these issues and concerns may be further addressed. Granger also said that neighborhood crime watching is effective in the prevention of future occurrences, as is policing the city streets.

Community requests of additional patrols can be another effective method to lower the volume of the domestic calls to police departments. Officers advise those who are concerned for their safety to never walk alone in foreign territory, and to call 911 at the advent of any suspicious behavior.

“The police do their best to cover the streets,” Officer White, also of the Swissvale District of Allegheny County said, “But there are only so many of us and there are many more residents that can speak up and call 911 if they see something wrong. Citizens should not simply expect the police to show up onto the scene if nobody calls the crime in.”

White said that his specific department is equipped well enough to handle the “normal” domestic calls coming in. White said that the extensive training and tools they are familiar with allow them to effectively deal with the calls that are made to his department.

Allegheny County has several private centers in which victims of domestic violence can reach out for help available 24/7.

Executive Director Stephanie Walsh of the Center for Victims of Crime and Violence said that domestic abuse can be reported via Allegheny County’s 24 hotline (412-392-8582). She also said that Mary Jo Harwood is available for specific questions. Walsh encourages victims to actively engage in their county’s center.

“We provide help to all individuals affected by domestic violence and are committed to prevention of future incidences with conflict resolution services,” she said.

The Center for Victims of Crime and Violence offers many other methods for help in addition to the 24 hotline. The center also provides support and therapy groups designed to help victims resolve personal dilemmas that they may be struggling with.

Additional information regarding the Center for Victims of Crime and Violence can be obtained at the center’s main office line at 412-482-3240, or by visiting the center in person, at 5916 Penn Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15206.


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