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Domestic violence up in 2020, says Oxford Police Department’s annual report

Crime was down in the City of Oxford during 2020 in some categories, while other crimes saw an increase due to the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oxford Police Department provided its annual report to the Board of Aldermen during their regular meeting on Tuesday. According to the report, domestic violence arrests increased in 2020 as compared to 2019.

In 2020, there were 145 arrests for domestic violence, which is was 47 more arrests than OPD made in 2019 for the same charge. When it came to felony domestic violence arrests, where a weapon was used, OPD made nine arrests for that charge last year.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay in their homes for months in a row due to the quarantine and shelter-in-place orders. Due to families being together in their residences for long periods of time unfortunately led to an increase in domestic violence calls.

“Domestic assaults really went up this year,” Oxford police chief Jeff McCutchen told the Board.

Another aspect of the pandemic and residents isolating at home was the number of mental health calls OPD received in 2020. There were 143 mental health calls into OPD, which is something the department has not tracked until last year.

McCutchen credited a partnership between OPD and local nonprofit Communicare, which would come to the scene of mental health calls to help talk with citizens struggling with a mental health issue.

“Any time we’ve called them, no matter the time, they came to scene and worked with us to help resolve the situation, which has just been incredible,” McCutchen said.

There were two fatal shootings in 2020. One took place at Highland Square that left 22-year-old Frank James Davis, of Grenada, pronounced dead at the scene. The incident resulted in seven individuals arrested and charged in connection with the shooting.

Another fatal shooting was officer-involved. Officers responded to The Mark Condominiums for a domestic disturbance call, which turned into hours-long standoff with Kenneth Dale Miller, 47 of Oxford. Miller eventually walked out onto his balcony where he began yelling and pointing his weapon at the officers, who immediately fired at him. Miller was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were several other incidents where OPD officers responded to shots fired, but no injuries occurred.

Last year, OPD made 269 felony arrests, conducted 635 foot patrols, made 3,737 business checks and 1,431 follow-up calls.

When it came to burglaries, OPD officers investigated 181 vehicle burglaries, 73 residential or commercial burglaries and 16 robberies or armed robberies. Of those investigations, 145 arrests were made for vehicle burglaries, 33 arrests for residential or commercial burglary and 17 arrests for robbery or armed robbery.

McCutchen told the Board there five instances were OPD officers caught people in the act of a burglary.

“That was due to every staff member and detective working together,” McCutchen said.

With less people on the roads for much of 2020, DUIs and other alcohol-related incidents dropped sharply. There were 468 DUI violations and 276 other alcohol-related offenses in 2020, compared to the 588 DUI violations and 509 other alcohol-related offenses in 2019.

The report is something that has been in the works for OPD to provide for the past couple of years, according to Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. Providing City-related information and data for the citizens to see is something the first-term Mayor said she has wanted to make possible.

“We have talked about it for two years and it is a wonderful report and is a gift to our community to really dig into the data,” Tannehill said. “It is to show them that we are being as transparent as we can possibly be.”

To view the full OPD annual report, it can be found at the City of Oxford’s website.