While calls for domestic violence have spiked in Los Angeles County during stay-at-home orders, Pasadena Police Department has seen the number decrease.
By nearly 20 percent.
For Pasadena PD Lieutenant Jesse Carrillo, the significant drop in calls makes him uneasy rather than optimistic.
After 14 years of working with the nonprofit Peace over Violence, a community based organization that helps local families free themselves from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence, Carrillo knows familial dynamics don’t change or decrease this quickly – especially during a crisis.
“When you see a decline in calls you want to say it’s good, but we don’t know what’s happening inside of a residence and that makes us apprehensive. County wide there is an increase, but for us?” he said. “Are they just not reporting it? Is it because they are in fear and don’t know if they have anywhere to go?”
“We want to make it clear to everyone that the Pasadena Police Department is here. We are still responding. We are still investigating and apprehending people.”
The Pasadena PD has worked in partnership with Peace over Violence for more than 20 years. The nonprofit has a Pasadena office, and is also a part of the department’s Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART.)
Together the two agencies work to create a safe haven for families, providing shelter, a place for advice, legal guidance and a helping hand for people who feel helpless.
“We want people to know that we may have modified our offices and limited our hours, but we are still open. We know that people are unfortunately suffering in silence at home,” said Yvette Lozano, Chief Program Officer for Peace over Violence. “Some survivors don’t put themselves first, so in this time of crisis they want to get their kids stabilized, get food on the table and they are thinking there’s nowhere else they can go. So they stay and say ‘I’ll see how it works out.’”
As COVID-19 continues to tremor through the country and state, Lozano says many domestic violence shelters are at capacity, because when the stay-at-home order was placed in Los Angeles County, everyone stayed put.
For this reason, Peace over Violence, has started a new hotline called Project Safe Haven to help victims find shelter during the pandemic. They’ve launched the Coronavirus Crisis Team and have equipped their staff to help victims remotely – which includes, counseling over the phone, texting, or video conference.
“We understand it can be challenging this way,” said Lozano. “But we are here for emotional support and to extend a hand for people in need. We can provide services and help.”
On Wednesday, April 29th, Pasadena Police Department officers will help raise funds for Peace over Violence by wearing their favorite pair of jeans on Denim Day.
Denim Day is a national campaign started by Peace over Violence held on a Wednesday in April as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Day.
This year the Department is also asking for officers to donate $5 to participate in Denim Day, to help raise funds for the nonprofit who has lost some financial support as people shift their resources to help with COVID-19.
“This year we are asking all our employees to help out with $5 participation, it’s the first year we’ve done this,” said Carrillo. “But we understand Peace over Violence supporters are strapped with some funding. So we are hoping to raise awareness and raise funds for them. Whatever we raise collectively, our Chief (John Perez) is going to match. “
How can you show your solidarity?
This year, due to the stay-at-home order, the Department is asking for the community to show their support and solidarity for Denim Day by wearing their jeans at home #stayhomeweardenim.
To learn more about Peace over Violence go to: https://www.peaceoverviolence.org/ and find details on hotline information, the Coronavirus Crisis Team and how to become a supporter.
To learn more about Denim Day, a campaign started by Peace over Violence in 1999, please check out: https://www.denimdayinfo.org/