Las Vegas task force aims to curb domestic violence - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Las Vegas task force aims to curb domestic violence

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

In the past few months, there have been several deadly domestic violence cases in the Las Vegas Valley. But Metro Police said it is taking action. The department partnered with SafeNest to form a new task force aimed at curbing domestic violence in the valley.

The task force just started in Dec. but members said they already feel like they're making a difference. They work Thursday through Saturday nights responding to domestic violence calls after police have been there.

Members said they're hoping this extra connection, during a victim's most vulnerable time, will help stop what they're calling the domestic violence epidemic in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas has one of the highest domestic violence rates in the U.S., according to recent studies.

“We are an island in the desert, right? So this is a transient community, so we see lots of that coming in and out. It's a fairly stressful place to live,” CEO of SafeNest Liz Ortenburger said.

Following the shooting on Oct. 1,  experts said domestic violence is likely to spike in the valley.

“You get a lot of folks who felt like, well, that power and control has been stripped away. We just had a mass shooting and so now if I had other triggers, it's easier for me to fall into a violent pattern or domestic violence pattern,” Ortenburger said.

It's why Metro police said they are working with SafeNest in a new program called Project Safe 417.

“Anytime there's a 417 call police first respond as they would for any domestic violence call, and then once they have done their piece of the scene, they call our advocates,” Ortenburger said.

SafeNest volunteers respond in the northwest command area, where domestic violence homicides are highest. They provide safety planning in the crucial hours after officers leave, hoping to end repeat 911 calls.

“What we're really looking for is lower rates of recidivism. So if somebody calls on a domestic violence phone call, a 417, that the police aren't responding three, five, (or) seven times to that house,” Ortenburger said.

The task force has only been working in the northwest area command, but members said they hope to eventually spread throughout the rest of the valley,

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