Posted on July 15, 2020 in Domestic Violence
There have been many unforeseen consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rise and fall of crime rates since the outbreak is a consequence that receives little news coverage but is tracked closely by officials.
Some cities have experienced decreases in certain crimes and increases in other crimes. Other cities have experienced a flat rate of increase and a decrease in criminal activity of all types.
Phoenix is no exception. Police officers have noted increases in the rates of certain crimes throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Two types of crimes that increased during the outbreak were domestic violence and vehicle theft.
According to the Phoenix Police Department, there was a 5.6 percent increase in the number of calls for aggravated assault and family fights during March 2020, compared to the same time last year. The police responded to 3,587 domestic violence calls during the month.
Stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions began in March to fight the spread of COVID-19. The stress of dealing with the pandemic combined with the forced shelter in place orders could be factors in the cause of the increase in domestic violence calls.
The City of Phoenix has a domestic violence FAQ page on its website. The page answers some of the most common questions about domestic violence.
If you are in danger, call 911 for help. The police respond to domestic violence calls. After assessing the situation, the officers decide if charges are warranted.
You can also find information about domestic violence services and hotline numbers on the Arizona Department of Economic Security website.
Vehicle theft crimes have also increased in the greater Phoenix area during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people at home, vehicles are sitting for long periods. The vehicles may also have valuables in them that the homeowners may not remember leaving in the vehicle.
Thieves are taking advantage of fewer people on the street to steal vehicles and break into vehicles. Owners should check on the vehicles each day and remove all valuables from their vehicles to reduce the risk of theft.
The City of Phoenix has an Auto Theft page that provides information about what to do if your vehicle or property is stolen. You can also find information about vehicle thefts on the website for the Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force.
Domestic violence allegations are generally thought of as violent crimes involving physical abuse and assault. However, domestic violence may also include any of the following acts:
Anyone living in your home can charge you with domestic violence. That includes your spouse or partner, children, parents, and siblings.
Unfortunately, false charges of domestic abuse occur frequently. A spouse may accuse the other spouse of domestic abuse to obtain sole possession of the home. Parents sometimes use domestic violence allegations to influence a custody battle.
While false allegations of domestic abuse are serious whenever they are made, during the coronavirus pandemic, these allegations could result in increased health risks. If the police believe they have probable cause for an arrest, you could be taken to jail for false allegations of domestic violence.
The accuser could petition the court for an Order of Protection (OOP) or restraining order to prevent you from coming near the victim. Depending on the circumstances, the judge could order you to stay away from your home. In that event, you must find somewhere else to live.
The spread of the coronavirus can make it difficult to find somewhere to stay. Family and friends who are self-isolating may not be willing to let you stay with them. Staying in a hotel or finding a safe place to rent may also be difficult.
Try to remain calm. Shouting, cursing, and aggressive behavior may give the police officers the probable cause they need to make an arrest. Instead, call a domestic violence defense lawyer immediately. Have the attorney on the telephone if possible when the police arrive.
Know that the police officer may arrest you because officers are taught to err on the side of caution and believe the accuser. Do not argue or resist arrest, as that only leads to other criminal charges.
Do not make a statement or answer questions without an attorney present. Calmly tell the police officers that you are exercising your right to remain silent until you talk to an attorney. Clearly state that you want to consult with a criminal defense attorney.
There are defenses to domestic violence charges. The best defense begins with talking to a lawyer as soon as possible.