Domestic violence crime numbers could be on the decline, still remain problem

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission's Operation "Safe Community" crime statistics show a decrease in domestic violence crimes.

Between January and July of 2014, domestic violence crimes are down about seven percent in Shelby County and nearly eight percent in Memphis compared to that time last year.

Compared to the 2011 baseline year, reported domestic violence crime is down nearly 14 percent.

Still, area agencies said they continue to help many people struggling with violence.

Director of Victim Services Melissa Farrar said staff at the Exchange Club Family Center are helping the same number of families as last year.

Farrar said they helped 400 families last year and have not noticed a decrease in services.

She said that could mean fewer people are reporting crimes to police.

However, Farrar said it's a good thing that victims are still seeking help.

Farrar said domestic violence could possibly lead to future local crime, because young people raised witnessing violence can become more aggressive.

Domestic violence survivor Gwen Turner said she would not be surprised if domestic violence crime was decreasing because of all the resources now available to victims.

"They can get help from police, they can get shelter, they can get legal assistance, they can get child safety exchange, and things of that nature. That once was not possible," Turner said.

Turner works the front desk at the Family Safety Center so she can help other survivors.

The release of the crime statistics numbers comes the same week that a Memphis firefighter was arrested for allegedly grabbing his estranged wife's neck and throwing her to the ground.