COVID-19 pandemic blamed for dramatic rise in domestic violence cases in Comal County in 2020

Comal County District Attorney’s Office creates special division to handle domestic violence cases

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Domestic violence is on the rise in Comal County and the COVID-19 pandemic is to blame, officials said.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp.

Tharp said domestic violence arrests were at 66% last year compared to 53% in 2019.

“Even more staggering ... looking at the latter half of 2020, we saw 82% of our law enforcement arrests being related to domestic violence, intimidate partner, crimes,” Tharp said.

Comal County Sheriff Mark Reynolds agrees with Tharp about what’s triggering the spike in crimes.

”The stress brought on by the epidemic, itself, and the increased usage of drugs and alcohol brought forth a number of domestic violence cases last year”, Reynolds said.

To address the problem, Tharp was awarded just over $73,000 in federal grant funds that was used to establish a two-person Domestic Violence Division to exclusively handle those type of cases.

”What we’re looking at is addressing these cases on a faster track with greater training and experience,” she said.

About the Authors

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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