Report Shows Columbia Leads State in Domestic Violence Rate - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Report Shows Columbia Leads State in Domestic Violence Rate

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by Jason Lamb

COLUMBIA, Tenn. -- City leaders in Columbia are going through new numbers that show the city led the state in the domestic violence rate in 2011.  They are sobering statistics that one non-profit hopes will bring new resources to the community.

"I believe that as a community we're not taking the issue of domestic violence seriously," said Angie Slack, with the Hope House in Columbia, a non-profit group offering support for victims of domestic violence.  "I don't think that's necessarily unique to Columbia Tennessee, because domestic violence is still very much an issue that's behind closed doors."

"Domestic Violence" is a category that includes crimes from murder to assault.

The Hope House director says a boost in detectives investigating domestic violence may help, but the increase may also be because of increased efforts to report it and arrest people for it.

"Any time a police department pays more attention to a particular crime, you're going to see a spike in the numbers of that crime," Slack said.

The Columbia Police Chief says more detectives might not help the situation because the first responding officers play the biggest role.

"The case is generally made the night a uniformed patrol officer responds to the call," said police chief Tim Potts.  "Evidence he collects on scene is generally what you've got."

Slack is advocating for a new family justice center to be built in Columbia.  And if there's any good news out of these domestic violence numbers, this may be it:

"Although its unfortunate we're number one in the state of Tennessee, it puts us in an extremely competitive place to be able to apply for and receive that grant (for the justice center)."

The Columbia police chief says the preliminary domestic violence numbers for 2012 are down from the year before.


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