Domestic Violence Police Reporting and Resources during the 2020 COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order in Chicago, Illinois

Louisa Baidoo, Tanya L. Zakrison, Gillian Feldmeth, Stacy Tessler Lindau, Elizabeth L. Tung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Domestic violence (DV) has become a growing public health concern during the COVID-19 pandemic because individuals may be sheltering in place with abusers and facing mounting economic and health-related stresses. Objective: To analyze associations of the 2020 COVID-19 stay-at-home (SH) order with DV police reporting and resource availability, including differences by community area racial/ethnic composition. Design, Setting, and Participants: This longitudinal cohort study assessed DV police reports (January-June 2020) obtained from the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department and DV resource availability (March and August 2020) obtained from the NowPow community resource database, both for 77 community areas in Chicago. Data were analyzed July through December 2020. Exposures: The COVID-19 SH order effective March 21, 2020. Main Outcomes and Measures: Monthly rates of DV police reports and DV resource availability per 100000 persons. Results: Of 77 community areas in Chicago, 28 (36.4%) were majority Black, 19 (24.7%) majority Hispanic/Latinx, 18 (23.4%) majority White, and 12 (15.6%) a different or no majority race/ethnicity, representing an estimated population of 2718555 individuals. For each community area, the SH order was associated with a decrease in the rate of DV police reports by 21.8 (95% CI, -30.48 to -13.07) crimes per 100000 persons per month relative to the same months in 2019. Compared with White majority community areas, Black majority areas had a decrease in the rate of DV police reports by 40.8 (95% CI, -62.93 to -18.75) crimes per 100000 persons per month relative to the same months in 2019. The SH order was also associated with a decrease in DV resource availability at a rate of 5.1 (95% CI, -7.55 to -2.67) resources per 100000 persons, with the largest decreases for mental health (-4.3 [95% CI, -5.97 to -2.66] resources per 100000 persons) and personal safety (-2.4 [95% CI, -4.40 to -0.41] resources per 100000 persons). The Black majority south side of Chicago had a larger decrease in resource availability (-6.7 [95% CI, -12.92 to -0.46] resources per 100000 persons) than the White majority north side. Conclusions and Relevance: In this longitudinal cohort study, the rate of DV police reports decreased after the SH order was implemented in Chicago. This decrease was largely observed in Black majority communities, whereas there was no significant change in White majority communities. These findings may reflect decreased DV incidence but may also reflect an exacerbation of underreporting. In addition, DV resource availability decreased disproportionately on the predominantly Black south side of Chicago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2122260
JournalJAMA Network Open
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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