WASHINGTON - Homicides stemming from domestic violence are on pace to double in the District this year and there is little police can do to curb such crimes that take place inside the home, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said during WTOP's "Ask the Chief" program Tuesday.
Two women were among the four homicide victims killed just this weekend. One woman was found inside a home in the 4100 block of Gault Place NE Friday evening. She died of asphyxia due to compression, according to autopsy results.
Another woman was found with multiple stab wounds early Sunday morning in the 5200 block of Queens Stroll Place. Her cause and manner of death of have not been determined but police are investigating the case as a homicide.
Lanier would not speculate about the motive in the two cases because no arrests have been made.
But the women are among the 12 women who have been violently killed this year. Additionally, three young children have been killed at the hands of a relative or family member.
"If you're in an abusive relationship the biggest problem is people don't think it's ever going to turn fatal," Lanier said.
She urged women to get help. Police can connect abuse victims with organizations that will provide them and their children a safe place to stay and offer support.
Lanier says police can also help in one other important way.
"We'll make sure you get your stuff," she says.
Lanier says strategies that help deter street violence, like this weekend's all-hands-on-deck, which flooded the streets with police, don't do much to prevent domestic violence, because the abuse occurs behind closed doors, inside the home and out of sight of patrolling officers.
Three homicides, including the two women occurred during the intense police presence this weekend. Despite that, crime dropped 27 percent compared to the same weekend last year, Lanier says.
Police target specific days throughout the year to roll out the intense police presence as a way to combat violent crime.
So far this year, the city has seen 59 homicides, compared to 38 through June of 2013. Last year, 104 people were violently killed in total, including the 12 victims of the Navy Yard shooting. Eleven victims were women.