Educational event held after Shelby County apartments see more domestic violence

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The numbers are staggering: Domestic violence assaults are up 11 percent this year in a county already plagued by them.

The Family Safety Center constantly works to bring these numbers down in Shelby County and they’re also partnering with SafeWays to combat the problem.

“It’s always a sense of urgency,” said Ollie Murry-Drobot with the Family Safety Center.

Domestic violence assaults are up by more than a quarter in Shelby County apartment communities compared to last year and make up over a third of all serious criminal offenses in apartments.

“A lot of the time, it’s just a matter of the managers and the owners don’t necessarily know what steps to take or where to start or what’s truly effective,” said Janine Heiner Buchanan, managing director at SafeWays.

Which is why SafeWays and the Family Safety Center are teaming up to teach apartment managers what they can do to help.

“We need their help as well as the community’s help,” said Priscilla Blackmon, housing manager at the Family Safety Center.

Managers came from across the county to attend the free session on Tuesday.

Organizers said it was the first event of its kind and after seeing the response of about 50 attendees, they plan on having more in the future.

Leaders with the Memphis Police Department also talked about components like GPS bracelets and orders of protection.

“We take that piece of paper and we start building a case,” said Police Director Mike Rallings.

The director said it’s important for everyone to understand the realities of domestic abuse.

“A lot of the active shooter incidents started with some type of domestic violence incident,” he said.

Making it more important than ever to know the right resources available and the warning signs in place.

“Folks want to figure out, ‘What can I do? How can I help?’ So this is a part of our conversation today and figuring out what our next steps and how we can work together to address the issue,” said Murry-Drobot.

If you or anyone you know is affected by domestic violence, you can call the Family Safety Center at 901-222-4400.

At Tuesday’s session, they also went over the rise in property offenses at apartment complexes.