Domestic violence incidents are increasing in Memphis. Thanksgiving week served as a harsh reminder of its prevalence, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The newspaper cites several recent cases, including one on Thanksgiving Day, in which a former college athlete fatally shot his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend, her father, and then himself. Tensions tend to erupt during the holidays, said Memphis police Lt. William Freed. “Families are together a lot more, issues can be brought up face-to-face,” said Freed. “Alcohol is involved in a lot of celebrations and sometimes that gets out of hand.”
Thanksgiving week alone, there were 422 domestic violence incidents. “We see it all holidays — even Valentine’s Day,” Freed said. During the past few years, Memphis police have increased their presence on the streets, driving down property crimes and violent incidents. Domestic assaults and domestic killings are both on the rise, said Karen Cook, Shelby County’s top prosecutor overseeing domestic violence abuse and killings. “It’s an epidemic,” she said. Memphis police recorded 25,382 domestic violence incidents last year, a 5 percent increase from 2008. This year prosecutors fear there will be more than 30,000 incidents, ranging from killing a victim’s pet to stalking, rape, assault and murder, Cook said. The severity of abuse is increasing, too.