Murders from domestic violence jumped by 15 percent last year in North Carolina, according to an annual report from the state’s Department of Justice.
According to the study, 122 men and women died because of domestic violence in 2012, up from 106 the year before. The number is the highest since 2008, the first year the state began tracking the statistic. The increase in this type of murders in North Carolina comes at a time when, nationwide, homicide rates are falling.
“It’s very difficult to know exactly what’s causing this, but we do know that when we see a 16-victim jump in this figure that it’s cause for concern,” says Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Cooper says that by the time domestic violence escalates into murder, it isn’t the first time abuse has occurred. Restraining orders can help prevent domestic violence from turning into murder. 13 of the 122 victims had some form of restraining order against their assailant.
“So, it’s important that we make certain people know how to use the system and know how to put protective orders in place,” says Cooper.
Cooper also says domestic violence shelters may need more funding. In Mecklenburg County, 8 people were victims of domestic violence murders, second-highest in the state, next to Wake County, but down from each of the prior two years.