Domestic violence rates in mid-Missouri tower over rest of state

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COLUMBIA - Thursday marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and according to the most recent "Crime in Missouri" publication from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, mid-Missouri counties have a higher rate of domestic violence than each of the three most populated counties in the state.

The top three most populated counties in the state are St. Louis County, Jackson County and St. Charles County. These counties showed domestic violence rates of 433, 834 and 348, respectively per 100,000 people. 

By comparison, Boone County, Cole County and Callaway County in mid-Missouri showed rates of 1,065, 708 and 875, respectively. Boone County is the only mid-Missouri county part of the state's top 10 most populated, ranked 7th. The only other counties in Missouri's most populated that have higher rates for dometic violence than these counties are Greene (#4) with 1,242 and Jasper (#8) with 1,153. 

J.D. Rifkin, who is the owner and master instructor at Rifkin Professional Karate, teaches seminars and one-on-one self defense courses throughout mid-Missouri. Rifkin said these numbers surprised him, but he attributes them to people in the area not being proactive in potentially dangerous situation.

"It starts with not being in dark places by yourself at night," Rifkin said. "It starts with acting as soon as you notice the potential for violence in your relationship."

Rifkin he often receives calls for people with an immediate need for self-defense training.

"Someone will say 'I need to know this by this weekend,'" Rifkin said.

The Boone County Sheriff's Department did not respond to requests to comment on this story or its statistics.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol's data is based upon reports received by state officials concering any domestic disturbance involving harassment, stalking, coercion, assault, sexual assault battery or unlawful imprisonment.