JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is monitoring its crime statistics closely and have noticed a spike in domestic violence incidents since quarantine started during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, the statistics show there has been a decrease in both violent crime and property crime in comparison to March of 2019, the sheriff’s office reports. However, using the same comparison, there has been an increase in Domestic Violence cases.
Jefferson County deputies responded to a total of 111 domestic violence calls in March of 2019. For March of 2020, we have responded to 141. That equates to a 27% increase in domestic violence calls.
It is uncertain as to whether this increase in Domestic Violence crimes is a direct result of the ‘Stay at Home’ order that was issued earlier in March 2020, but it certainly raises some questions, the sheriff’s office said. In comparing last year’s numbers to this year’s numbers, the only difference seems to be the ‘Stay at Home’ order.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer some alternatives to engaging in violent domestic altercations to its citizens:
- Take a walk. Should tensions begin to build, citizens can still take a walk around their neighborhood. Hopefully, this will allow both parties to have the opportunity to cool down and keep the argument from escalating. Just remember to practice the social distancing guidelines while in public.
- Try to talk things out rather than allowing a disagreement to become physical. Avoiding raising your voice or using overly emphatic hand gestures can go a long way in keeping a disagreement under control. Even if the other party is yelling, lowering your tone and volume can often cause the other person to lower theirs as well.
- Settle arguments with words, not fists. Never raise your hand against another person in an emotional rage.
- Clearly and calmly state what you feel the disagreement is about to the other party. Often times, an argument can develop over nothing more than one party not understanding what point the other person is trying to make. By trying this, you may actually discover that you and the other party actually have the same opinion, but are stating it differently.
During this difficult time, everyone is on edge and anxieties are high, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says. Many people are concerned about finances, health and the stress of the disruption of normal activity. Try planning activities that will encourage fond memories, like going through old photos of happy times or cooking a favorite meal together.
The Jefferson Coutny Sheriff’s Office also understands that sometimes, no matter what attempts are made, the situation cannot be resolved or it may be a pre-existing violent relationship that is worsened by the current stressors forced by COVID-19. Should you need assistance with a violent party, please reach out. There are still services available to those in a violent situation.
- YWCA – The YWCA offers a 24 hour crisis line (205-322-HURT ). Their 24 hour emergency domestic violence shelters are also open and operational.
- Crisis Center Birmingham – The Crisis Center continues to provide 24 hour services:
Crisis and Suicide Line – 205-323-7777
Rape Response Hotline – 205-323-7273
Recovery Crisis Line – 205-458-3377
- Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office Victim’s Assistance Unit – 205-325-5260 On-Call Victim Assistance Officers are available
- HICA – Hispanic Interest Coalition Alabama 205-942-5505 Services and Support for Alabama’s Hispanic community
Remember, if you are in a domestic altercation or have been the victim of domestic violence, you need to report it. You may reach the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office by dialing 911.
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