‘Shine the Light’ effort starts in Schenectady

Schenectady City Hall is turning purple to start a discussion about domestic violence.

City Hall is turning purple to start a discussion about domestic violence.

Gel caps have been placed on the lights on the City Hall clock tower, sending beams of purple light onto the tower.

It’s part of a state effort to “shine the light on domestic violence” for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Acting Mayor Gary McCarthy, who has seen many domestic violence cases in his career as a district attorney’s office investigator, said awareness is critical.

“It’s a problem that for a long time was under the radar,” he said. “It has a tremendous effect when you’re able to stabilize someone and bring them out of domestic violence.”

According to the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, nearly half the women murdered in New York state are killed by their domestic partner. Nearly one in four women in the United States will experience violence from a current or former partner, according to national statistics.

The “Shine A Light” campaign comes with a series of recommendations for action. Friends are warned, “Don’t be an expert, be a friend and get her to the experts.”

Employers are urged to create workplace policies regarding domestic violence, while parents are asked to treat each other respectfully to teach their children how to behave.

Schenectady police are also focusing on domestic violence, with one detective handling warrant sweeps to pick up residents who didn’t show up in court on domestic violence charges. The new 911ai program also allows residents to note that they were the victim of domestic violence before moving to a new address.

Police also track domestic violence calls themselves, but by address, not by name. A call to an address that has had past domestic violence calls is handled differently, with a stronger response, and if the victim includes that information on 911ai, police can continue that response at the new address. Residents can enroll in the free program at www.911ai.com.

The purple gel caps on the City Hall lights were so inexpensive that the city may get more colors for other events, McCarthy added. The caps cost less than $20, although one could not be installed because of a hard-to-reach light.

McCarthy envisions green for St. Patrick’s Day and other colors to represent events going on downtown.

“You have a downtown you want to attract people to, you have to do something a little different,” he said. “So you don’t get a static appearance in the community.”

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply