HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The Houston Police Department is cracking down on domestic abusers. This comes after an increase in domestic violence murders last year. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is making it very clear. Domestic abuse has been increasing here in Houston, but the chief says HPD is determined to turn that around.
If it seems domestic abuse killings are on the rise. Last year, there were 38 percent more domestic violence murders here in Houston, so HPD is making some changes.
"In the short term, we're saving lives, restoring peace in homes, but in the long term, we're really going to impact overall violent crime in our city,” explains the chief.
How so? The chief says he expects this crackdown on domestic violence will cut down on all crimes, because he says most offenders and gang members actually grow up in homes where domestic abuse is prevalent. He says you take away the abuser and you take away the atmosphere that breeds future criminals.
Acevedo says HPD officers will be able to secure warrants faster, connect more victims with resources to leave and arrest abusers quickly, even if they run.
"That's probably the one hole we had, is when the offender, the suspect is gone when patrol gets there, we are probably not as quick as we should be, could be, must be to save lives," Acevedo says.
"This is amazing news. I’m applauding the police department, the D.A.’s office, everybody who’s taking a good look at domestic violence and saying this has to stop,” says Dr. Conte Terrell, who's the founder of the non-profit group Fresh Spirit Wellness For Women.
"Every nine seconds a woman is being abused. So during this interview, someone is being tragically abused several times over,” Dr. Terrell said. Terrell isn’t only a counselor, but also a domestic abuse survivor.
"I am not able to have any children, was not able to conceive after the most horrific act of domestic violence happened to me. I was stomped in the stomach by my ex-husband while I was four months pregnant,” Dr. Terrell explains.
Chief Acevedo says he hopes to also change that someone with a felony arrest warrant can still legally buy a firearm.
“When you have a felony warrant, especially for a violent crime like domestic violence, you should not be allowed to buy a gun so you can turn around and murder your family,” says Acevedo.
Beginning Monday, HPD now has eight more Victims Service counselors to help with domestic abuse cases.