Albany violent crimes continue to climb - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany violent crimes continue to climb

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April 15, 2008

Albany --  Albany Police Officers are now getting outside help to see if they can change the way they respond to aggravated assaults.

Albany police officers are responding to more violence. "Sixty-six percent of aggravated assaults are among parties who are either related or who know each other. So that is a real challenge for officers who are dealing with problems that are either domestic violence or anger management," says Albany Police Chief James Younger.

But now they are looking to see if they can play a more proactive role with these calls. "Staff from Liberty House is providing training especially to our recruit officers on how to handle domestic violence issues," said the chief.

"We really do rely on law enforcement to do their part so that we can do ours because they are the first responders on the scene," said Liberty House Executive Director Silke Seeley.  

Previously police only gave victims a list of places they can get help. "If the person you are handing it to doesn't read, what good is that piece of paper? If they don't understand the services provided by the people on the list, what good is that piece of paper? If they've been traumatized that piece of paper is totally useless to them," said Seeley. 

But domestic violence counselors want officers to know that it's all about their approach. "If there mindset is 'I'm going there to prevent a possible homicide,' their state of mind is going to be supporting and helping and assisting that victim. If they go there thinking it's just another nuisance call, we've been there for or five times than they will be in a totally different mindset," said Seeley. 

Counselors also say officers need to be observant. "Writing up reports and getting information from the victim, from children that are in the home from neighbors, so you can determine how long it's been going on."

Because they can provide the details that can save a victims life.   The community also can play an important role in stopping domestic violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the Liberty House 24-hour hotline at 229-439-7065.

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