National news reports say domestic violence has gone up after the lockdowns. We looked at Bay and Leon Counties to see what is happening and what resources are available for those affected.
We looked at the reported incidents for Bay and Leon counties since February 1st and calculated a monthly average case rate. In Bay County, we found that batteries and assaults declined 27% post-lockdown (excluding Panama City Beach area so that Spring Break does not affect the numbers). These numbers are for all batteries and assaults—not just domestic violence cases. In Leon County, the Sheriff’s Office’s crime map shows a 36% drop in batteries and assaults after April 1st. On the other hand, batteries coded for domestic violence rose 80% after April 1st, but the numbers reported are very low (2.5 pre-lockdown versus 4.5 post-lockdown per month). We are reaching out to the respective Sheriff’s Offices for clarification on the classification of domestic crimes. We also noted that the Leon County SO reported 4 felony battery cases for victim over the age of 65 during February and March, but zero so far in April.
Using the Tallahassee Police Department’s numbers, we see that there was a 37% drop in battery and assault cases across a large residential area in south Tallahassee. These crimes are not classified as domestic violence, but likely are domestic-oriented based on locations of the crimes.
The numbers for Leon and Bay Counties show a large decrease in violent crime, but it is unclear whether that has translated into a decrease in domestic violence cases. One of the challenges with domestic violence cases is the hesitation of alleged victims to report abuse. If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance because physical harm or a threat of physical harm, call law enforcement (911). For resources available to you in an abusive situation generally, http://www.bayso.org/victim-advocate (for Panama City and Bay County) and https://www.leoncountydomesticviolenceadvocates.org/ (Leon County and Tallahassee).
At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we understand that anyone can be a victim or an accused person, whether you are male or female and regardless of your family or relationship circumstances. If you need confidential legal advice with your particular situation in family law or criminal law, please call us for a consultation.
Call our office today at 850-818-0236. We also have offices located in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Tallahassee and Orlando for your convenience.