The fatal shooting of Tiffany Hill by her estranged husband outside a Hazel Dell elementary school shocked the community and prompted calls for change to how perpetrators of domestic violence are monitored. But domestic and intimate partner violence-related homicides have occurred here with normalcy for years.
Now, new legislation, which bears Hill’s name, will give authorities and victims a useful new tool as they continue to fight a crime that results in multiple local deaths every year.
There were four domestic violence-related homicides in Clark County in 2018, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs’ annual crime report. A year earlier, the county’s law enforcement agencies reported three domestic violence homicides; in 2016, there were two.
In 1999, when Clark County had roughly 145,000 fewer people, there were three domestic violence homicides.
Nationally, the number of domestic violence victims rose to 2,237 in 2017, a 19 percent increase from the 1,875 killed in 2014, James Alan Fox, a criminologist and professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University, told The New York Times. The majority of victims in 2017 were women, a total of 1,527.
Despite the increase nationally, Clark County’s numbers have remained relatively static.
“It’s pretty consistent. We’ll have spikes due to a case that involves multiple victims, which is going to be a larger number for the year, but then sometimes we’ll go several years without having a (domestic violence) homicide in the city,” said Tanya Wollstein, a detective with the Vancouver Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit.