It is not my intention to beat the proverbial horse to death, although I may come across that way when it comes to domestic violence. Because family violence is completely avoidable, it is my pet peeve. Better we should beat the proverbial horse than our spouse or other family member.
Considering the huge number of domestic violence reports surfacing in recent months in Copperas Cove, we as a community are on track to surpass the national averages in this despicable crime if our current trend continues unabated.
Citizens and local government must address this issue in a serious manner. It begins in the home. Unfortunately, it sometimes ends there as well.
As a military community, we are hypersensitive to the casualties resulting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly as it pertains to troops stationed at Fort Hood, yet we pay little heed to the casualties of domestic violence that occur almost daily in our midst.
There are no handicapped parking spaces for these casualties and no one holds fundraisers to provide assistance and a show of support. There are no colored porch lights dedicated to display solidarity with these victims. If we ultimately choose a color to show solidarity, it should be blue. Blue is the color of sadness and despair, the emotions that frequently overcome victims of family violence.
Let’s put this in perspective. The number of troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was a heart-wrenching 6,488. According to statistics made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during that same period nationally, 11,765 women were killed by male partners, both current and former.
This is domestic violence at its very worst. What’s more disturbing is domestic violence claimed almost double the casualties sustained in combat. By any measure, this number is epidemic. Nationally, three women are killed during domestic violence crimes every day.
Nationally, 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. The remaining 15 percent are men. We saw this in Copperas Cove as a homicide in 2014.
Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse, but includes financial abuse, emotional abuse or any combination of the three.
Victims of domestic violence need not remain in an abusive environment because of financial limitations.
There are private organizations, government agencies and church groups available to serve as advocates for victims of domestic violence.
Families in Crisis Inc. is one of these organizations. They provide emergency safe shelter, support groups, legal assistance and community referrals. They can be reached at 254-634-1184. The hotline is 888-799-7233. Cove House can be reached at 254-547-4673.
I predict advocate and assistance organizations will see an increase in cases this time of year.
In the five-day period between Nov. 25 and Nov. 30, 11 assaults were reported to police, nine of which were family violence assaults. Many resulted in bodily injury to the victims and several were repeat offenses.
This is not Houston with a population of 2.5 million — it is Copperas Cove, with a population of 33,000 souls. This number of domestic violence assaults is epidemic.
- An assault by contact/family violence was reported Nov. 23 in the 1400 block of Creek Street.
- An assault with bodily injury was reported Nov. 25 in the 800 block of North First Street.
- An assault by contact/family violence was reported Nov. 26 in the 100 block of West Anderson Avenue.
- Continuous violence against family was reported Nov. 26 on Cedar Grove Drive.
- An assault with bodily injury was reported Nov. 26 on Oak Ridge Drive.
- An assault with bodily injury was reported Nov. 26 in the 100 block of Williams Street.
- An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Nov. 26 in the 1200 block of West Avenue B.
- An assault with bodily injury was reported Nov. 27 in the 300 block of West Avenue F.
- An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Nov. 27 in the 200 block of Carmen Street.
- An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Nov. 18 in the 1300 block of High Chaparral Drive.
- As assault by contact/family violence was reported Nov. 28 in the 900 block of Lynn Lane.
Seven thefts and burglaries were reported to police this week.
- A theft of electronics was reported Nov. 23 from a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190. ’Tis the season for thefts.
- The theft of a passport from a vehicle was reported Nov. 24 in the 600 block of Town Square. This is a felony vehicle burglary. What’s worse is the passport can and most likely will be used to steal the identity of the victim. The thief can use the passport to obtain other identification in the victim’s name.
- The theft of a cellphone valued at $700 was reported Nov. 25 in the 500 block of Preakness Drive.
- Various groceries were reported stolen Nov. 26 in the 800 block of North First Street.
- The theft of alcohol was reported Nov. 27 in the 500 block of North First Street.
- Currency in the amount of $300 was reported stolen Nov. 27 in the 600 block of West Lincoln Avenue.
- Currency in the amount of $96.87 was reported stolen Nov. 28 at a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
- A terroristic threat was reported Nov. 23 in the 200 block of Constitution Drive.
- Criminal mischief was reported Nov. 23 in the 2500 block of Phyllis Drive.
- Criminal mischief was reported Nov. 24 in the 200 block of South Seventh Street.
- Graffiti was reported Nov. 24 in the 2400 block of Veterans Avenue.
- Criminal mischief was reported Nov. 25 in the 900 block of South 17th Street.
- A second incident of graffiti was reported Nov. 25 in the 2400 block of Veterans Avenue. A sign was damaged.
- Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Nov. 25 near Mary Jane Circle.
- Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Nov. 27 in the 200 block of North Drive.
Tip of the week
Especially at this time of year, thieves and scammers are out in force to steal your hard-earned assets, using your identity and personal financial information as a tool. These vermin are experts at what they do, but they can be defeated by using average intelligence and a little common sense.
First and foremost, never provide your personal identification numbers to anyone you do not know or implicitly trust. Scammers can be very convincing in eliciting these numbers from you. Just make it a rule to never give these identifiers out, particularly over the telephone.
Know and memorize this: No legitimate governmental agency, utility, television provider or financial institution will ever ask for your personal or financial information including account and PIN numbers over the phone.
Anyone seeking the above information telephonically is not legitimate and is most likely a scammer or thief. Immediately hang up without giving any information. Politeness and telephone etiquette are not required.
John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.