The Spatial and Temporal Ecology of Domestic Violence: Not Always "Behind Closed Doors"

Ellen G. Cohn, Florida International University
James Rotton, Florida International University

Between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 1996, the Dallas Police Department received 267,132 calls for services that involved family members. Spatial analyses revealed that less than half (43.7%) of the calls were subsequently coded as occurring inside homes; nearly as many (37%) occurred in outside people's homes, including yards (16.3%), streets and parking lots (13%), and other outdoor locations (7.7%). Clearly, a large amount of domestic violence does not occur "behind closed doors." Consistent with prior research, temporal analyses indicated that domestic violence was most prevalent during evening hours (6:00 - 11:59 p.m.) and on weekends than other times. Further, cross-sectional time-series analyses indicated that outdoor temperatures predict and may determine when and where domesti violence occurs. For example, seasonal differences in outdoor disturbances shanrk to nonsignificance in analyses that controlled for temperature.

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Updated 05/20/2006