Domestic Violence arrests in Fulton and Izard counties continue to climb in 2009 to concerning heights for local law enforcement.
So far in 2009, county and city police report an increase in domestic violence arrests, 56 arrests as of July 31. The complete count of domestic violence arrests in Fulton and Izard counties for 2008 was 67.
What exactly has spiked the increase is up to interpretation, however it is clear that the numbers are up and the local authorities are concerned.
"In the last year they are up about 100 percent," said Albert Roork, Salem chief of police. "I have no clue as to why." Fulton County and Salem police work together to apprehend aggressive offenders across the county.
Fulton County Police Department reported 18 arrests as of July 31. Last year a total of 24 arrests were made in Fulton County, according to FCPD data.
Fulton County cities report their own statistics. The Salem Police Department arrested eight as of July 31 for domestic battery in 2009. Last year as of that time, SPD had arrested two. Mammoth Spring Police Department reports the only decrease with three arrests in 2009 and eight arrested in 2008.
"There's a lot more than there used to be back in 2008. They just keep going up and most of them are violent," said Walter Dillinger, Fulton County sheriff.
The arrest count for 2009 will not be finalized until December, however law enforcement warns that if offenders continue to be arrested at the current rate, a worse year is ahead.
"I would call it a year that shows a sizable increase over last year," said Tate Lawrence, Izard County sheriff.
This year, the arrest count is up to 27 (four female and 23 male), as of July 31, according to Izard County Sheriff's Office. In 2008, Izard County domestic violence arrests totaled 33, four female and 29 male, according to Izard County Sheriff's Office data.
"Even though the numbers seem higher in 2009, they are still lower than they were when I started in 2005," Lawrence said. "Our numbers, if they hold true for 2009, they are going to be around 45."
Sticking to the same policy that reduced Izard County violence arrests after 2005 is the best way to combat the increase.
"I think we have to continue to aggressively deal with domestic violence cases," Lawrence said. "When we look at these issues, it is often associated with alcohol, and sometimes it can be economic downturn that leads people to alcohol. We have to continue to say by our actions that if you commit domestic violence."
Most often, domestic violence is connected to alcohol or drug use. Officers responding to such calls are in a high state of danger, never knowing what the offending party is capable of until they are in the situation.
Back up is always necessary, Dillinger said.
"You never know what kind of state of mind a person is going to be in," he said. "You have to be real cautious."
Both counties intend to hold a firm hand on the violence, doing what they can to insure that there is no question what happens to those who commit such acts.
"I will arrest after any sign of violence," Roork said. Broken furniture or any marking from the aggressor of aggressors will immediately initiate an arrest, he said. "Sometimes we arrest them both," Roork said.