Domestic Violence Initiative

The High Point Police Department received over 4000 domestic violence calls in 2019.  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 began to go after the offenders, using the focused deterrence model, 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, implemented, and evaluated a focused deterrence initiative targeted at domestic violence offenders.  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 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.  Out of those 499, only 31 re-offended.

By August 2018, some 3500 offenders had been put on notice and the re-offense rate was about 17 percent.  The typical rate had been between 20 and 34 percent.

The process has been refined since 2012, to continue to protect victims while working to change offender behavior.  Domestic violence detectives conduct one-on-one notifications.  The message given and action taken varies based on a classification system we developed:  A for the most serious offenders through D for the least serious offenders.

This current model is working.  Domestic violence incidents have been reduced by about 30 percent.  We continue to evaluate and make changes in consultation with our community partners.

Additional notes:

September, 2018.  The High Point Police Chief and Family Services of the Piedmont, a partner agency, presented the strategy during the Voices Rising Annual Conference.

November 2013:  Independent Weekly published an article about this initiative.

Poster presentation: created by research partners at UNC Greensboro. For more information, contact John Weil, jdweil@uncg.edu or Dr. Stacy Sechrist, smsechri@uncg.edu  Findings from the evaluation of the first year’s data were presented to the American Society of Criminology in November, 2013.