Las Vegas police handled 33 homicides related to domestic violence in in 2015, about a quarter of all homicides that year. Statistics on the issue in Nevada are grim, the Las Vegas Sun reports. The Las Vegas-based Safe Nest shelter made 30,000 contacts with victims in 2016, and police responded to more than 60,000 domestic disturbances. This summer, a rash of tragedies has put domestic violence top of mind for the community. On July 10, people conducting a welfare check found that a man had shot and killed his 11-month-old son, the boy’s mother, and the family dog before shooting himself. Later that month, a man tied up and stabbed his estranged girlfriend and their 4-year-old son, then stabbed himself to death.
Six times from 1998 to 2014, Nevada ranked first in the nation for female deaths at the hands of men and was consistently in the top five, according to the Violence Policy Center. In the most recent report from 2014, four out of five victims knew their killers, and the majority of them were in intimate relationships. Pinning down the reasons for Nevada’s elevated numbers demands more research, said Safe Nest’s Liz Ortenburger. Experts point to the high number of transient residents in tumultuous circumstances in the Las Vegas Valley. Hot summers force people inside for longer periods of time, and patience can run thin. Survivors, advocates, police officers and others are working to curb the violence, and they are making progress. “I’ve seen incredible changes,” said Elynne Greene of the police victim services and human trafficking unit. “If we can catch it in the very beginning, and have that face-to-face conversation and offer resources, we have a real good chance.”