Violent crime in public housing is way up, due in large part to a spike in domestic violence incidents. According to data from the city, the surge in domestic crimes accounted for nearly two-thirds the total increase in violent crime, Capital reports.
The city council's public safety committee yesterday discussed altering protocols to better ensure that victims of domestic violence are given priority to receive public housing. Currently, victims are required to submit reams of paperwork proving that their abusers have been charged with first or second degree rape or assault before they're moved to the front of the formidable NYCHA wait list. The only group more highly prioritized than victims of sex assault, however, are homeless families—of which there are currently a record number in shelters. In May, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to provide 750 such families with public housing within three years.
“It could have a crowding-out effect," Committee Chairman Ritchie Torres said during the meeting. "You could crowd out victims of domestic violence. But it’s genuinely a complicated matter.”
In March, there were 240,000 applicants condemned to the waitlist, and only 5,000 units become available each year.
The council reports that the number of domestic violence incidents in NYCHA developments has shot up from 809 in 2009 to 1,642 in 2013. The NYPD attributes the startling 31 percent spike in public housing crime to a steady rise in arrests.
The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence plans this year to launch a new initiative targeting domestic violence within NYCHA properties, with a specialized response team working in the 15 locations that account for nearly 20 percent of the violent crimes across the city's developments.
As of September, there are 754 priority NYCHA applicants in the city.