BRONX, NY — Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson met today with Bell Atlantic Mobile officials to accept the donation of 10 wireless phones. The donation expands the company's efforts to arm victims of domestic violence with powerful wireless technology that provides a critical lifeline to police.
The phones, specially programmed to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of a button and put victims in immediate contact with police, will be distributed to women at risk.
"Having wireless phones in hand will allow these women to go about their day-to-day lives with less fear," Johnson said. "They can go to work, run errands or visit family and friends, secure in the knowledge that, if the abuser appears, help will be on the way in seconds."
The women who will use the phones are separated from their abusers, and many have restraining orders.
"Women really need a way to summon help instantly from wherever they are," Johnson said. "Without these phones, domestic violence victims often are afraid to leave their homes. That's why we went to Bell Atlantic Mobile with our request for wireless phones."
In 1996, nearly 12,000 incidents of domestic violence were reported to police in the Bronx alone, representing over 26% of all domestic violence cases reported in New York City.
"It is our hope these phones will never have to be used to report an emergency, but if such an emergency occurs, we know help is just a call away," said Rick Conrad, president of Bell Atlantic Mobile's New York/New Jersey metro region. "This donation is a continuation of our "Wireless At Work" community service program designed to bring the benefits of wireless technology to victims of domestic violence. These women just want to rebuild their lives, and our company is proud to give them tools that will help them."
In the past year, Bell Atlantic Mobile donated over 300 wireless phones to New York/New Jersey agencies to help women and children at risk. The company also has donated its HopeLine® wireless voice mail service to homeless and battered women's shelters throughout the NY/NJ metro region. Hopeline provides a confidential number that victims can leave with prospective employers, landlords, and social service agencies, as they search for jobs and housing.
Bell Atlantic Mobile is the largest wireless service provider on the East Coast and the second largest in the United States. The company owns and operates the most extensive network in the East, covering 111,000 square miles, and the largest chain of wireless retail outlets offering a full range of wireless personal communications services, including voice, data, and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has more than five million customers and 7,000 employees in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. The company is the chief wireless subsidiary of the new Bell Atlantic, formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX corporations.