Increase or decrease in domestic violence incidents?

Hi, all –

I’m a new member of the group. I have a PhD in behavioral science. After a number of years in academia, I’m now involved in policy efforts in DC to reform the Violence Against Women Act to make it more science-based.

You may have heard predictions that with coronavirus shelter-in-place policies, domestic violence incidents and DV-related police calls would increase. I was skeptical, so we got information from 11 areas around the country.

We asked them this question: “In the past two weeks, has your office been seeing an increase, no change, or a decrease in the number of domestic violence calls?” Of the 11 units, 6 reported a decrease in the numbers of domestic violence calls, and 4 saw no change. Only Houston saw a slight increase of 10%. In other words, vast majority of the all places reported a decrease or no change in DV calls.

I’m curious to know what you are seeing at your BIP meetings…a reported increase, decrease, or no change.?


Ed Bartlett, PhD



  1. Boston, Massachusetts: “Nonsense! Both verbal and aggravated assault are down because people are more focused on good hygiene, their own survival skills and frankly have nowhere to go if they get kicked out of the house (or kick someone out), so they are learning coping skills and learning how to get along with each other by taking walks, etc.” – Domestic violence unit
  2. Denver, Colorado: “Domestic violence-related calls for service to our 911 Communications Center for the past two weeks (March 11-24) were lower than the preceding two week period, and lower than the same two-week period in 2019.”
  3. Frederick, Maryland: “We are actually recording a decrease in the number of reported domestic violence incidents” over the past two weeks, according to Acting Police Chief Patrick Grossman
  4. Nashville, Tennessee: From March 1-14, the Police Department received 842 DV-related reports. During the last two weeks of March, the number dipped to 804 reports.
  5. New Orleans, Louisiana: Domestic Incidents: March 2019: 1,533; March 2020: 1,157. This was nearly a 25% decrease.
  6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: This Police Department does not track calls for domestic violence, but does track the number of reported rapes: March 2–8: 26 reports; March 9–15: 15 reports; March 16–22: 9 reports.


  1. Albany, New York: No change reported in the number of police calls.
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: During the last two weeks of March, 2019, the police department received 61 DV-related calls. During the same time period in 2020, the department had 58 DV calls, a small decrease.
  3. Reno, Nevada: No change in the past two weeks.
  4. New York State: On March 29, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held a Coronavirus Briefing. During the event, one media representative asked about domestic violence. In response, Cuomo’s aide replied vaguely, “We’ve been tracking some of that data, it’s tough to tell.”


  1. Houston, Texas: The department reported during the last two weeks a 10% increase in DV-related calls, what the department described as a “slight increase.”