PPB reports spike in domestic violence arrests amid pandemic
As the number of coronavirus cases rises so, too, do the number of domestic violence arrests in the Portland area, according to new police figures.
The Portland Police Bureau on Wednesday revealed that the number of domestic violence arrests made between March 12-23 increased 27% from 2019 to 2020. Police said 38 arrests were made this year compared to 30 made during the same time period the previous year.
And the PPB also reported a 12% arrest increase after the Portland city leaders issued a state of emergency, saying officers made 34 domestic violence arrests between Feb. 29-March 11. Mayor Ted Wheeler first issued a State of Emergency on March 12, urging people to stay home as much as possible.
"The percentages are high and it's concerning because obviously any sort of abuse, specifically physical abuse, is of concern for us especially because a lot of residences also have children involved," said police spokeswoman Lt. Tina Jones.
The numbers suggest that, for some victims, the mandate has pushed them closer to their abusers.
"Because we are requiring people to stay at home, they are essentially confined to a space with somebody who is their abuser," said Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal.
Jayapal told KOIN 6 News shelters and other care providers are also reporting an increase in cases.
"The stressor of job loss, of kids being home, not being in school, fear about the pandemic and about the health causes — all of those things just sort of exacerbate the existing conditions of power and control in an abusive relationship," she said.
Police Chief Jami Resch said the bureau wants to connect victims to services before the abuse happens. There are several organizations ready and waiting to help the aging, women and children, and Spanish-speakers. Jones said Portland officers are also available.
"I just want to make sure to reinforce that we are here for the public," she said.
If there is a crime in progress, call 911 or the non-emergency dispatch line at 503-823-3333.
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