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Phoenix police report spike in violent crime during virus pandemic

(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX – Violent crime in Phoenix rose dramatically in the first half of 2020, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

Data from the department’s Crime Analysis and Research Unit showed the frequency of aggravated assault and homicide had increased by 25% from 2019.

Officials believe the trend could very likely be a result of the pandemic.

“Do we believe there is an associated factor to that? Yes,” Sergeant Mercedes Fortune told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“People are home more, some people are losing their jobs because of this — so there are a lot of different things that are really pushing some of that stress at home.”

There were 75 domestic violence homicides from January to June in 2019. To date, the city of Phoenix has seen 93 deaths caused by domestic violence for that same time period in 2020.

This year, there were 17 homicides related to domestic violence, 9 of which occurred in June.

Fortune described different high-level domestic violence calls the department had seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including an officer-involved shooting that occurred June 16 at an apartment complex near 23rd Avenue and Indian School Road.

According to multiple 911 callers, 27-year-old Donald Ward and a woman were fighting inside an apartment. One of those callers included the female victim of the domestic dispute. While she didn’t respond to questions from the dispatcher, she could be heard pleading for her life and screaming.

Fortune also recalled a stabbing that happened on June 29 in Phoenix near 19th and Glendale avenues.

Three victims, a 7-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

Police arrested a woman this week for allegedly shooting and killing her husband inside a home near 99th Avenue and Broadway Road after he tried to serve her divorce papers.

According to Phoenix police, the shooting happened Aug. 3 after the victim dialed 911 to report that he had been shot by his wife.

“Those are some of the most difficult cases because you don’t understand why or how,” Fortune added.

Despite the growing number in violent crimes committed in Phoenix, property crime has decreased by nearly 20% compared to last year.

“There’s more of a probability of somebody being home and so there’s a less likelihood for somebody to target a residence or a vehicle,” she said.

If the trend continues for the rest of the year, burglaries will be down 18% over last year and 58% from the 2011.

City of Phoenix domestic violence resources can be found online.

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