.

Uncertainty and abrupt changes brought about by the coronavirus have resulted in an increase in the number of disturbance calls received by the police departments in the Chino Valley.

“We have noticed an uptick and anticipated this would occur simply because of cabin fever syndrome, uncertainty, and unfortunately, fear,” said Capt. John Walker of the Chino Hills Police Station. “This can lead to arguments with the potential for domestic violence and child abuse,” he said.

Chino Police Chief Wes Simmons said the department has seen a 17 percent increase over the last two weeks in domestic disturbance calls in Chino compared to the same time period last year, despite having a large reduction in other calls for service.

Chief Simmons suggested Chino residents reach out to their faith leaders for assistance or use the city of Chino’s family counseling services.

Getting out of the house to walk or run in city parks was also suggested by both police commanders, while keeping in mind the social distance rules of six feet.

“It has been scientifically proven that during physical activity, our bodies release endorphins that block pain and more importantly reduce stress,” Capt. Walker said.

Unsafe indoors

Pat Bell, executive director of House of Ruth, a non-profit organization based in Pomona that helps women and children in domestic violence situations, said this is a very tense time for households with domestic violence.

The stress of a stay-at-home order coupled with losing a job exacerbates the problem.

“Staying at home is not safe for many adults and children,” Ms. Bell said. “Survivors may be trapped with abusive partners and cannot call for help.”

Women in abusiive situations fear that making the wrong move might lead to a violent result.

Ms. Bell predicts that when the stay-at-home order is lifted, there will be an influx of calls.

She said shelters are full because of the stay-at-home order and there is no room to accept new families in crisis.

House of Ruth is offering “tele-crisis” services over the phone with counseling, referrals, and motel vouchers, she said.

Ms. Bell encourages women in an abusive household to assess their space from a safety standpoint. 

When an argument is brewing, they should navigate out of the kitchen where potential weapons are available, call 9-1-1, or run to a neighbor’s house. 

She encourages domestic violence victims to call the 24-hour hotline at (877) 988-5559 even if it’s just to talk to someone. “We are open and operating and will do what we can to help you,” Ms. Bell said. “If you have fled, we will help you find a place to go even if our shelter is full.”

Chino residents can find counseling services by visiting cityofchino.org/resi dents/public_assistance_programs.

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