Domestic Violence Initiative

Domestic violence – it is the number one call for service every year for the High Point Police Department.  In fact, our PD receives more than 5,000 domestic violence disturbance calls annually.  These calls consume a large amount of officer time and sadly, often result in injury or death to victims.  Historically, law enforcement interventions used to control the most violent offenders and protect their victims have not been effective.

In April, 2012, High Point broke new ground in its response to domestic violence.  We go after the offenders, using the focused deterrence model, very similar to the one we have used for other violent offenders in our city.

In partnership with researchers, practitioners, prosecutors, victims and the community, we developed, have implemented and continue to use and evaluate a focused deterrence initiative targeted at the chronic domestic violence offender.  The goal:  lower offender recidivism rates to reduce the number of times intimate partners are re-victimized, reducing injuries to victims and preventing deaths.

The initial data from the first six months, April 2012 – September 2012, showed very promising results.  Four hundred ninety-nine (499) individuals were notified – either by letter, by letter and in person, and through notification meetings (call ins).  These individuals had varying degrees of domestic violence histories when this initiative began, from having repeat calls but no domestic violence charges, to having at least two charges or violations of prohibited behaviors.  Out of those 499, only 31 re-offended.

As of August 2018, some 3500 offenders have been put on notice.  Currently, the rate of committing another offense is about 17 percent.  The typical rate has been between 20 and 34 percent.

The program has been lauded by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  On Tuesday, September 25, 2018, the High Point Police Chief and a representative from Family Services of the Piedmont, one of our partner agencies, will present this strategy during the Voices Rising Annual Conference.

Independent Weekly published an article about this initiative – its history and how it is working – in November, 2013.

Below is a poster presentation created by our research partners at UNC Greensboro that provides an overview of this initiative.  For more information about the research, contact John Weil, or Dr. Stacy Sechrist,  Findings from the evaluation of the first year’s data will be presented to the American Society of Criminology in November, 2013.