AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - An increase in domestic violence related homicides has the city taking steps to curb domestic violence.
In 2015 there were seven homicides within the city's limits and six of them were related to domestic violence. Now, the city is taking steps towards curbing domestic violence.
Police, city officials, and community members gathered for a Domestic Homicide Prevention Course, where they learned about High Point Police Department's Domestic Violence Initiative.
High Point began using the program three years ago. It was designed to put less responsibility on the victim and gives the responsibility the state.
It focuses on offenders in the early stages before they commit more serious crimes. They found early intervention is key to stopping the cycle of domestic violence.
In the program police become involved before a person is a first time offender. When they first receiving a domestic disturbance call the offender is put on a police "watch list."
They then receive a notice that is delivered within 48 hours of the call by a patrol officer. Police believe approaching the offender after the incident occurs is more psychologically effective because they are more aware of the situation.
Depending on the number of offensives the police become more involved.
After implementing this program High Point saw a decrease in domestic disturbances, crime, and repeat offenders. Chief of High Point Police feels everyone should use this tactic.
"How many lives is too many before you change your response? One," said Marty Sumner the Chief of High Point Police Department. "So it doesn't really matter if you only had six [homicides], one is too many. I would tell jurisdictions you don't wait until you've got 20 or 25 a year, it's much better to try to stop this or implement it when you still have relatively low numbers."
Because of the program's success local city officials and police are hoping to use the program here.
"The hope for this program is to see domestic violence homicides decrease, to see domestic violence in general decrease, we want to see that decrease in our area, and there is that potential this sounds like a great program," said Kathy Tortoreo the Director of Crisis Services for Family Services.
Even though the program takes responsibility off the victim the whole community will have to pitch in to make it work.
"The whole community is going to have to do that [pitch in]," said 47th District Attorney Randall Sims. "That's going to be the citizens, law enforcement, the judges, probation. Everybody in this community is going to have be involved in this program for it to work."
Next week the city will be hosting a meeting to see how they want to implement this program in our area.