CINCINNATI — In 2021 so far, Cincinnati Police said 15% of homicides committed in the city have been domestic violence related; In 2020, only 5% of homicides were connected to domestic violence.
In 2019, only 4% of homicides in Cincinnati were related to domestic violence.
"So we've seen a dramatic increase in the homicide deaths related to domestic violence," said Lt. Col. Lisa Davis, with the Cincinnati Police Department's investigations unit.
For families like that of 39-year-old Deborah Evans, the reality of this spike in domestic violence homicides hits close to home. Evans died on April 25 when her ex-boyfriend, Craig Tims, is believed to have shot and killed her in College Hill.
"Very sweet person," said Officer Shameka Jackson, Evans' cousin. "Wouldn't harm a fly. She was a mother. She was a daughter. She was a cousin."
Jackson said Tims said concerning things to Evans; Jackson told Evans to tell the police, but she never knew if her cousin took her advice. She didn't learn Tims had been stalking Evans until after the woman's death.
"When this happened, we all talked about it and we talked about how we have to check in with one another," said Jackson.
Tims was found dead of an apparent suicide 12 days after Evans' death.
Jackson, all of CPD and the organization Women Helping Women are trying to bring attention to domestic violence and awareness about locally available resources.
While homicides and calls for help continue to increase, Women Helping Women said the city's funding for it's DVERT program is going away. DVERT allows trained professionals to respond alongside CPD to support survivors of domestic violence and connect them with resourcces.
"Well, the city manager put out the budget and we're not in it," said Kristen Shrimplin, president and CEO of Women Helping Women. "So what changed? Why divest now in community safety responses?"
The City of Cincinnati has until the end of June to approve its finalized budget.