Q&A: How police hope to address Houston's domestic violence problem
HOUSTON – On Tuesday, the Houston Police Westside Patrol Station will begin a new initiative to combat family violence and aggravated assault cases.
Houston Police Westside Patrol Station Capt. Michael Faulhaber said that domestic violence is a unique crime and difficult to combat because it happens behind closed doors.
The Houston Police Department reports that at the end of March, the Westside Division had approximately 300 aggravated assaults. Out of those 300, about 150 can be attributed to family violence.
The goal is for the new program to help bring the numbers down, provide resources and prevent escalation of violence.
The new test program takes a two-pronged approach to addressing the issue. One element includes a new risk-assessment tool that Westside Patrol officers will use to gauge offenders on their history of behavior and the potential for increased violence.
The other element includes community response. Police will work with identified apartments to plan informational meetings and make resources available.
Capt. Faulhaber said the reason the department will focus on apartment complexes is because that is where most of the instances are happening.
What do supporters say?
The CEO of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Sherri Kendall, said that she believes this initiative and any proactive step is important to connect the community with resources.
“It is really critical that family and friends are looking for warning signs of domestic violence for those that they care about and they are equipped with referrals for the victim," Kendall said.
When does it begin?
The new initiative will begin on Tuesday, May 1.
Police said that they will evaluate the program on a monthly basis to determine what is working and what changes should be implemented.
AVDA also offers free counseling and emergency financial assistance, click link to website.
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