LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The number of domestic incident reports dropped significantly in Lewisboro between 2006 and 2010, according to the Westchester Office for Women, and the town ranked 39th out of 42 Westchester municipalities in 2010 for reported incidents per capita.
Lewisboro had 68 domestic incidents reported in 2006, according to the Office for Women, which issues the statistics every two years, and that dropped by 37 percent to 43 reports in 2008. It fell to 26 reports in 2010, a drop of 40 percent from 2008.
Law enforcement officials noted that the data reflect “reported incidents” and do not necessarily mean a crime was committed or an arrest was made – just that a complaint was made and investigated. One person can file more than one report in a year.
Lewisboro Police Chief Frank Secret said the drop in reported incidents was not a result of anything specific his department was doing to combat domestic violence.
“All other types of crime dropped during those periods, so it’s really part of the larger story,” he said.
Secret said the decline in domestic incident reports from the mid-2000s to now seems counterintuitive. The economy was stronger then, he noted, and there is usually an increase in crime during a time of recession.
Lewisboro Lt. Doug McCray said the drop-off could perhaps be attributed to cultural change, along with better police training.
“I started in 1977 and we rarely made an arrest [for domestic violence],” he said. “It was treated like drunk driving. It was kind of looked at as a ‘victimless crime,’ but advocacy groups brought forth that there are victims and have raised awareness. Back then you rarely saw female police officers. There wasn’t the education or the training that we have now.”
Secret said that for a report to be filed, the incident has to meet certain criteria to be considered domestic violence. He also noted that the crime crosses over all socioeconomic boundaries.
“Domestic violence can’t be attributed to one type of town or city,” he said. “It can happen everywhere and to anyone – rich or poor.”
The chief said the victims of domestic violence now have more resources and places to turn than they did 20 years ago. Plus, he said, there isn’t as big of a stigma tied to divorce as there once was.
“Over the years divorce has become more commonly accepted,” he said. “Whereas years ago people were more inclined to stay together, and that’s when you’d have trouble.”
In 2010, Lewisboro’s 26 domestic incident reports translated to 2.1 per 1,000 people. Only Briarcliff Manor, Somers and North Salem had lower rates in Westchester. Mount Vernon (39.1 per thousand), New Rochelle (23.4) and White Plains (23.3) ranked as the top three in 2010.