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Illustration by Kiera Smith/Crosstown.

Is Coronavirus Masking Domestic Violence?

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Note: This article first appeared on Crosstown and is shared with their permission in partnership with Los Angeleno. You can subscribe to Crosstown for crime, traffic and air quality news here.

Reports of abuse in Los Angeles fall during the lockdown.

Police in Los Angeles responded to fewer calls for domestic violence in the past four months compared with the same period last year. But rather than applaud the decrease, experts worry that a side effect of the coronavirus lockdown is that victims lack opportunities to report their abusers. 

A Crosstown analysis of LAPD data found that 4,655 domestic violence incidents were reported from March 15, when stay-at-home orders began to be put in place, and July 18 this year, a 12.5% drop from the 5,324 reports filed in the same time period in 2019. The department also received 14,086 calls for service related to domestic violence in the recent four-month period, which is about 700 fewer than the previous year. Service calls are a record of all instances in which the LAPD responds, including calls that come through 911, calls to non-emergency numbers and incidents officers observe while in the field.

The 4,655 domestic violence reports since Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered widespread closures and instituted the Safer-at-Home order (it was relaxed two months later) is also lower than the roughly 5,300-5,500 incidents recorded over a comparable four-month period every year going back to 2016.

Angelenos are still being urged to stay indoors as often as possible, and Garcetti has stated that a second stay-at-home order could be enacted if coronavirus infections continue to rise. That could pose a problem for victims, as Detective Marie Sadanago, the domestic violence coordinator for the LAPD, said that already nearly 19% of the time police responded to a domestic violence service call, no one was there.

Read more at Crosstown.

Los Angeleno