North Providence sees spike in holiday month domestic violence calls

North Providence sees spike in holiday month domestic violence calls

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The holidays can be less than idyllic for many local families, sometimes growing heated as unusual dynamics get thrown into the routine.

Arthur Martins, new chief of the North Providence Police Department, says Christmas week historically is typically a time of increased pressures for many people as they’re looking to make sure presents are in order and meals are properly prepared.

Add in difficult family circumstances, he said, and the fact that people typically don’t have a convenient outlet to vent like they would in warmer weather with a walk or run outside, and the anxiety gets ramped up. Police are constantly reminding people that resorting to violence instead of walking away could have tragic consequences for everyone involved, including children and other bystanders, he said.

But do the number of actual calls related to domestic incidents increase during the holidays? According to Martins, there is generally an uptick in North Providence, and in 2019, in particular, there was a significant increase from the year before.

In November 2018, there were 14 arrests related to domestic incidents, compared to 17 arrests in 2019. In December 2018, there were eight arrests related to domestic incidents, compared to more than 20 in December of 2019.

There was also an increase in no-crime incidents between the two years. In November of 2018, there were five no-crime domestic disturbances and one open case for a criminal offense where the perpetrator was not apprehended. December 2018 saw four no-crime domestic incidents and has one open case.

In November 2019, there were 14 no-crime disturbances and one open case, and in December 2019, there were 11 no-crime incidents and one open criminal case.

Police officials in several other local communities, including Cumberland, Pawtucket, Smithfield and Woonsocket, are providing data showing no noticeable increase in December domestic incidents over other months, despite Christmas week itself typically being seen as prime time for such issues.

Amanda Milkovits of The Boston Globe tweeted that nearly everyone being arraigned by Providence and Woonsocket police the day after Christmas was facing domestic violence charges.

Detective Lt. Norm Galipeau of the Woonsocket Police Department said Woonsocket averaged 30 domestic-related calls for both criminal and non-criminal activity per week throughout 2019. That number increased to 33 calls through Dec. 27 on Christmas week.

In Pawtucket, Detective Sgt. Christopher Lefort said there is no noticeable increase for domestic calls on Christmas week over other weeks. A three-year synopsis provided by Lefort showed that there were more domestic calls combined for both the Nov. 22-26 period and Jan. 22-26 than the Dec. 22-26 timeframe.