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Posted on August 26, 2020 in Assault

Aggravated Assaults, Homicides Surge 25 Percent in Phoenix

According to the Phoenix Police Department, the first six months of 2020 saw both homicides and aggravated assaults up over 25% in the Phoenix area. Domestic violence has played a significant role in the increase, with twenty-four homicide cases linked to domestic violence in just the first six months of this year. 2019 saw ten homicide cases linked to domestic violence during the same time frame—a 140% increase.

Burglaries and thefts have continued to decline this year, in keeping with a downward trend that started in 2011. The trend of overall low crime rates, but a spike in recent violent crimes, is being repeated in large cities around the country in the first half of 2020.

Homicides and shootings are on the rise in Chicago, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, Houston, D.C., Kansas City, and other cities across the country, all in correlation with the COVID-19 situation. Fewer people on the streets, schools closed down, and more people at home are increasing the stress on families. The result of that increased stress is a spike in violent crime, especially among family members.

Why Are Violent Crimes Increasing in Phoenix?

According to Jeanna Panas, CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, the COVID-19 lockdown played a role in changing the dynamics. Domestic partners are unable to leave home and re-enter the community where there are safety systems in place. Work, school, or community resources, including just reaching out to a friend in person, are all essential safety valves for potential victims and perpetrators.

She theorizes that the COVID-19 lockdown increased stress, fear, and forced isolation, all of which are known risk factors for domestic violence.  Call volumes for services have decreased, so both police and Panas are encouraging victims, and others who know what is going on, to contact police if needed.

2018 and 2019 both saw significant decreases in violent crimes in Phoenix, lending credence to blaming the COVID-19 stressors for the recent jump. Police and advocates are encouraging the community to help by checking on loved ones who could be in dangerous situations, and the see something say something campaign, especially if there are children involved.

Domestic Violence in Arizona

It can be challenging to know where you can safely get help if you are experiencing domestic violence. The Phoenix area has a wealth of resources for domestic violence victims. Visit the Domestic Violence Resource and Referral Page for a list of resources near you.

Domestic violence laws in Arizona cover any form of abuse that happens between two people who share close relationships. There are enhanced penalties if the incident occurs with:

  • A spouse
  • A former spouse
  • A domestic partner
  • Anyone who shares a home, or have shared a home in the past, such as roommates
  • Parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings
  • An individual you have a child in common with or with whom you are expecting a child

If you have been arrested or are facing arrest for domestic violence charges, you need an experienced defense attorney to protect your rights. Allegations of domestic abuse can have serious and long-lasting consequences on your reputation, the ability to see your children, your job, and it carries heavy legal penalties. You may face stiff fines or imprisonment, so contacting an attorney as soon as possible is in your best interest.

Restraining Orders

Restraining orders are hard to combat without the help of an experienced defense attorney who knows what evidence to look for and present, and how to help you make your best case in court. If you are the subject of a protective order that you feel was unjust, you have the right to request a hearing. Once a hearing is requested, it is usually granted within five to ten business days. At the hearing, the judge will consider evidence that shows:

  • The lack of evidence to support the alleged victim’s claim
  • Whether the allegations against you are exaggerated or false
  • Whether the alleged victim ever contacted law enforcement
  • Did the victim continue to call, text, or otherwise contact you?
  • Did the alleged victim seek medical care for their injuries?
  • Did the victim continue to participate in romantic or intimate acts with the alleged abuser?
  • Is there a history of lying or dishonesty on the part of the alleged victim?

Once they have reviewed the facts, the judge will decide to uphold the order, modify it to lessen the restrictions or dismiss the order.

You have the right to competent defense against claims of domestic violence. Contacting an experienced defense attorney with years of experience in both criminal and family court can make the difference in protecting your legal rights and helping defend you against false or biased accusations. Contact Orent Law by phone or online for a consultation about your rights.