DA buying 35 cameras to help document domestic violence injuries

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SAN DIEGO — District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Tuesday that her office is using $30,000 from a California Office of Emergency Services grant to purchase 35 cameras to help officers investigating domestic violence cases better document injuries to victims.

Stephan said the cameras will produce high-quality photos which will help with the presentation of evidence in court.

“Pictures are not only worth a thousand words, they can also be a key piece of evidence that holds an abuser accountable, especially in domestic violence cases,” Stephan said. “Unfortunately, a large percentage of victims of domestic violence recant their original statements to police, because of fear, shame, embarrassment or other reasons stemming from power and control asserted by their abuser within the relationship. These cameras can help us preserve and document evidence — including evidence of strangulation — which is predictive of homicide, and allows us to move forward with prosecutions and fight this persistent crime in San Diego County.”

There were more than 17,000 domestic violence incidents reported in San Diego County last year, an increase of 4 percent from the previous year, according to a recent crime report from the San Diego Association of Governments. The District Attorney’s Family Protection Division currently has 21 pending murder cases, 11 of which involve the murder of an intimate partner.

Over the last five years, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of domestic violence cases submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, Stephan said.

The new cameras and a new countywide strangulation protocol are only a fraction of what the District Attorney’s Office is doing to bring awareness to and fight domestic violence, Stephan said. She said her office is working on at least nine other initiatives from forensic exams to recognizing the link between homelessness and domestic violence in an effort to address the problem.

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