CMPD: Domestic disturbance calls on the rise

Residents facing domestic violence, or even the threat of domestic violence, should call 911

Get out, take a walk, go for a ride in your car. But whatever you do, don’t lose your cool, experts advise.

As Mecklenburg County continues its stay-at-home order, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is responding to more domestic disturbance calls — up 20% since March 26, when the stay-at-home order was put in place. That amounts to 2,144 total calls, or an additional 250 over that same time last year, according to the department.

Similar increases have been reported around the globe as businesses close and nations impose social restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19.

While CMPD stopped just shy of attributing the rise to the stay-at-home order, the department is offering guidelines for families suffering from too much togetherness.

“Sometimes people feel like they can’t get out, so tempers flare,” Jennifer Bumgarner, a detective in the department’s special victims division, said at a weekly press briefing. “So it’s ok just to get outside and take a break from one another.”

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Residents facing domestic violence, or even the threat of domestic violence, should call 911, Bumgarner said. She said officers are available for intervention or prevention.

“Every situation is different, and we look at the totality of the circumstances,” she said. “We take into account both sides of the situation. If there is signs of injury, usually there is an arrest, but it’s not always the case.”

CMPD said residents fearing domestic violence also may call the Safe Alliance hotline at 980-771-4673, or the National Domestic Hotline, open 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Shannon Rolinger, who said she survived domestic violence years ago while serving in the military, said seeking help often means moving past the guilt and shame to acknowledge the problem. 

“There is always hope,” Rolinger said. “I know what it’s like to be in that super-dark place that it doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to get better.”

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