The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently found that crimes against persons decreased by 2%, however domestic violence still contributed to more than half of the incidents.
According to the TBI's annual crime in Tennessee report, 52.1% of crimes against persons were tied to domestic violence. In 2010, domestic violence made up 51.4% of those crimes.
In 2011 there were 84,517 domestic violence offenses reported statewide which is slightly lower than 2010 when there were 85,070 reported.
The report also found that 56.7% of murder victims knew their killer.
“It's unfortunate that if you look at the crime stats alone, you are more likely to be hurt by someone you know or someone in your family than by a stranger,” TBI Spokeswoman Kristen Helm said.
The TBI puts out the annual report to help communities know what crimes are affecting their areas the most.
“We hope it helps the law enforcement community, district attorney offices and community organizations understand where crime is increasing,” Helm said. “It better educates them so they know where to focus their resources.”
The YWCA runs a 24-hour domestic violence crisis hotline. The line offers information about resources available to victims of domestic violence.
“One of the things we want to raise awareness about is recognizing the early signs,” YWCA community educator Liz Todaro said. “The reality is many of those relationships escalate into incredibly dangerous violent situations and even death.”
Tennessee ranks fifth in the nation for women who are killed by men. Todaro said that fact shows how prevalent domestic violence is in Tennessee.
“Whether we want to admit it, statistics show we all know someone living with domestic violence or who is recovering from a violent relationship,” Todaro said. “It is one of the reasons why resources like the YWCA crisis line are critical to let people connect to help as soon as they need it.”
Todaro said the effects of domestic violence impact the entire community.
For taxpayers it comes in the cost of law enforcement manpower to respond to domestic violence calls, the criminal justice system to prosecute offenders and the health care system to treat the physical and emotional aftermath of domestic violence.
On a societal level she said domestic violence leaves long lasting effects that impact the community.
“You have to think about the generational ripple when you have kids in the home witnessing these kinds of attacks and this kind of violence,” Todaro said. “It is something that will affect them for the rest of their lives that they have to continue to heal from.”
She continued, “We also have situations when someone is in their workplace things can escalate there or the fact they are distracted and can't get their work done.”
The YWCA said in addition to education, more resources for victims are a good way to combat domestic violence in Tennessee.
“[The 24-hour crisis hotline] is available not only for individuals who need help and may be in violent relationships,” Todaro said. “That is something someone could use if they have a friend or family member they are concerned about.”
The 24-hour crisis hotline is 615-242-1199.
Click here to view the complete crime in Tennessee report.