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Yankton domestic calls continue trend started with COVID-19

August 7, 2021 GMT

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — Yankton police say the upward trend of domestic incident calls reported in the middle of COVID-19 lockdowns last year is continuing to manifest itself in 2021.

Police Chief Jason Foote says Yankton police answered a total of 292 domestics in 2020, up more than 50 from the year before and something he believes “could be due to issues associated with COVID.” Midway through this year, the city has fielded 180 such calls, the Yankton Press and Dakotan reported.

Nationwide, domestic violence reports rose sharply when the pandemic arrived.

“I can’t say that there a specific factor to the increase, but I believe COVID has caused tension during this time but this is not the only factor,” Foote said. “Making the public aware of domestic violence and that it should not be tolerated could be a factor in the increased calls for service getting law enforcement to intervene before things turn to physical assault.”

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In that respect, the number of cases being referred to the state’s attorney office is trending downward, Foote says.

Foote says the police department continues to work with its community partners such as the River City Domestic Violence Center to help tackle the problem. He added the public can also play its part in addressing what is an ongoing issue.

“With the community’s support, we can partner to help end domestic violence because no one should have to live in fear,” Foote says.