HOUSTON – Five people died in Houston over the weekend in suspected domestic violence crimes. Now, investigators say it’s a pattern that only seems to be getting worse.
“A microcosm of what’s yet to come, and that’s the harsh, stark reality,” Crime Stoppers of Houston’s Andy Kahan said. “This is not going to go down.”
Factors that contribute to a rise in domestic violence include the pandemic and “a revolving door at the courthouse,” as well as unemployment benefits disappearing, according to Kahan.
According to Crime Stoppers of Houston, domestic violence crime is up 40% in Harris County since the pandemic began, including 17 people killed by someone out on multiple felony bonds.
“You have a perfect storm going on right now,” Kahan said. “The numbers are staggering.”
In addition to the most serious homicide cases, including Layla Steele, who was killed in July by a man police say was out on seven felony bonds and had a protective order out against him, attempted homicides and other crimes are up.
Domestic violence is defined by Crime Stoppers as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, batter, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, and emotional abuse.”
“We have organizations that work 24/7 helping domestic violence victims,” Kahan said. “We need you to reach out, there’s help available, there are trained professionals available. Contact your local law enforcement’s victim’s services.”
You can also contact the Houston Area Women’s Center, the Aid to Victim’s of Domestic Violence (AVDA), the city of Houston’s Family Resource Center and many others: https://housingandcommunityresources.net/emergency-assistance/domestic-abuse/
You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.