Domestic violence in Carson City : ‘It is so common, it is unbelievable’ |

Domestic violence in Carson City : ‘It is so common, it is unbelievable’

This shows the location of every domestic related call that the Carson City Sheriff's Office received in August 2015. Red markers indicate a battery, blue a disturbance, yellow a battery report and green a disturbance report. In August 2015, there were 114 domestic related incidents in Carson City.


Wednesday: Increase is worrisome

Thursday: The root of domestic violence

Friday: One woman’s story

Saturday: A family’s grief

Sunday: Resources available

Domestic violence statistics:

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined, nationally

Men are victims of nearly 3 million domestic assaults in the U.S.

Though, a majority of offenders are male, in 2014, men made up nearly 37 percent of domestic victims in Carson City — 144 men per 1,000 is a victim. Nearly a third of temporary protection orders issued are for male victims

More than 60 percent of domestic incidents occur in the home nationally

Women ages 18-34 are at the greatest risk of being a domestic victim nationally

Only 25 percent of physical assaults against women are reported to the police annually, according to national statistics

In Carson City, the most common time of the day for a domestic call to occur is between 6-8 p.m.

In Carson City, the most common domestic violence relationship is cohabitation

In Carson City, 93 percent of the time, the weapon used in a domestic incident is hands, feet and fists

In Nevada, police officers follow mandatory arrest laws for domestic violence, meaning if they can determine a primary aggressor of the incident that is the person who gets arrested

Definition of domestic violence:

Domestic violence occurs when a person commits one of the following acts against or upon the person’s spouse or former spouse, any other person whom the person is related by blood or marriage, any other person with whom the person is or was actually residing, any person with whom the person has had or is having a dating relationship, any other person with whom the person has a child in common, the minor child of any of those persons, the person’s minor child or any person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the person’s minor child:

A battery

An assault

Compelling the other person by force or threat of force to perform an act from which the other person has the right to refrain or to refrain from an act which the other person has the right to perform

A sexual assault

A knowing, purposeful or reckless course of conduct intended to harass the other person

A false imprisonment

Unlawful entry to the other person’s residence, or forcible entry against the other person’s will if there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to the other person from the entry.

Domestic Violence: NRS 33.018. acts which constitute domestic violence

If you or someone you know is dealing with a domestic violence situation call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or Carson City Advocates to End Domestic Violence at 775-883-7654.

Horrifically common.


That is how Sheriff Ken Furlong describes domestic violence in Carson City.

“It’s our community and we have a problem as citizens identifying that domestic violence is very high. It is so common in our day to day society that it is unbelievable,” Furlong said.

He said the ripple effect domestic violence has is what makes the crime so horrible.

“It isn’t just a dispute between you and I,” Furlong said. “It’s you and I and our children and the neighborhood and community and it just keeps going. It crosses so many lines.”

In Carson City, more than a third of the Sheriff’s Office’s day is committed to responding to domestic calls, according to a Nevada Appeal analysis of sheriff’s office call logs. In August alone, officers spent nearly 272 hours out of 744 working hours responding to calls for domestic battery, domestic disturbances and reports.

“It is something that we handle on a daily basis,” said Carson City Deputy Matt Smith.

Many officers said going to domestic incidents allows them to help citizens find a peaceful resolution. They say a lot of the incidents they see aren’t violent.

“A lot of time it just takes an outside person to help them,” said Carson City Deputy Joey Trotter. “A lot of domestic calls we aren’t there to just arrest, we are here to help. Most of my incidents I respond to, I leave feeling like I helped them.”

“Part of what we do is counseling and hopefully we can just help them resolve the issue,” added Smith.

The trend of domestic violence has been increasing for several years, Furlong said. A major contributor for the Sheriff’s Office’s crime rate this year is simple assaults, which include domestic incidents. In 2014, there were 345 domestic arrests for the entire year, while, as of July, there were 202 arrests this year. As of July the amount of simple assault arrests have gone up 11 percent since 2014. Domestic violence is categorized in two parts, battery and disturbance. A domestic battery is a physical assault against the other person while a disturbance is a verbal one.


For many people, domestic violence is a crime that happens in the home for those in the lower class, drug using, uneducated bracket between two people.

“People think that domestic violence is low class, not very educated, living in a trailer doing meth on the weekends kind of people,” said Lisa Lee, director of Advocates to End Domestic Violence. “It’s not, it’s everywhere.”

However, domestic violence is an increasing trend that can bring a whole community to a stand still.

A domestic incident can involve a number of people, many more than just the involved parties. At each incident there’s a minimum of two officers who respond, and depending on if physical injuries occur, a fire engine and ambulance also are at the scene. However, Furlong said he has sent three to four officers to domestic incidents after the most recent deadly domestic encounter.

On Aug. 15, Carson City lost Deputy Carl Howell when he was shot to death while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Furlong said not only did the community lose an officer, two families lost a father and there are now seven children who are reeling from the incident.

“There are so many children impacted, family’s lives changed forever and lives turned upside down,” Furlong said. “This ripple effect of domestic violence is horrific.”

One domestic victim said it was difficult for her to hear the news about Howell’s death because, though she didn’t know him personally, the situation hit so close to home for her.

“People really don’t understand what goes on with it and it’s not just the abuser and the victim that suffers, it’s all the innocent bystanders and community that suffers from domestic violence,” the victim said. “People don’t understand why domestic violence is so dangerous and sadly enough the fact that we lost an absolutely innocent person to domestic violence, maybe people will understand that it is not as black and white as people seem to think. That it doesn’t just affect the household it affects everybody and it is so unpredictable. It’s so senseless.”


Fifty percent of Carson City offenders are between the ages of 18-34, and 51 percent of victims are between the ages of 18-34, according to the 2014 Nevada Uniform Crime Report.

Furlong said one of the biggest impacts domestic violence has is on children. Because they may be witnessing the abuse, there’s a possibility they may become conditioned to think a domestic relationship is normal, Furlong said.

Studies show a child is 15 times more likely to be abusive if they witness abuse in the home growing up, said Camika Crawford, chief communications officer for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

“It is not just one type of individual that experiences domestic violence and it isn’t prone to just one person,” Crawford said. “Children in abusive homes are impacted by witnessing it. Domestic violence isn’t something that is an isolated event, it impacts many.”

Thirty to 60 percent of abusers also abuse the children, national statistics show.


Domestic violence doesn’t occur in just one area of Carson City. In 2015, the Sheriff’s Office has responded to calls in nearly every neighborhood in Carson City. There has been more activity in the more urban areas of the community because of apartment complexes so people are in close proximity and can hear couples fighting easier, Furlong said.

“This is a very urban environment and in different areas we have a lot of complexes where people are,” Furlong said. “On a positive side, it is good because we have neighbors calling and looking out for each other more and we can respond to those. With the density of population in those areas it does get higher call volume.”

Lee agrees with Furlong, and said her organization also tracks where people have gotten temporary protection orders.

“There are some nice expensive neighborhoods it happens in,” Lee said.

“You are going to see the clusters where the apartments are, but there are acres too where the neighbors are far apart and don’t hear and call in.”

Since the beginning of 2015, there have only been nine days where the Sheriff’s Office hasn’t been called for a domestic related incident.

“People need the realization that we need to keep our hands off of each other,” Furlong said.