Domestic Violence Warning Signs

Domestic violence crimes can range from just verbal abuse all the way to life threatening.  Alabama and Georgia are high on a new national study released Tuesday for crimes involving men against women.

The most recent domestic violence crime in the Valley happen over the weekend in Phenix City.  Police say Edward Jernigan took the life of his girlfriend, Brandi Jernigan in this yard.  The local crisis center says in these cases there are warning signs.  "Extreme behavior going from extremely nice to exploding behavior," said Crisis Center of Russell Co. Advocate Vashuna Jones.

However, local police say you can notice changes in the victim's behavior.  "Friends and family should be alert to any disruption in the smooth lifestyle that their child or friend is having.  Some big signs you cna noice is arguments, violence, or evidence of physical violence," said Phenix City Police Capt. Jim Hart.

A report by the Violence Policy Center show Females Murdered by Males in Georgia is ranked at number 7 and Alabama ranked at number 11 nationwide.  This as law enforcement says not reporting the violence can lead to much more.  "It's only going to escalate and studies show us that domestic violence does not end by itself unless theirs eventually a death.  Someone or somebody has to step in and help the victim, basically getting them out of the situation," said Columbus Police Dept. Lt. Randy Hart.

Experts say helping the victim move forward is what the Crisis Center in Russell County tries to accomplish.  "Independence is one of the crucial things that we encourage most of all.  We see that once they regain control of themselves that they are better off that way," said Jones.

Columbus police say they had nearly 2,000 reports of domestic violence crimes last year, while this year they have had nearly 700.  Phenix city had 600 last year and 200 so far this year.

Recent studies show that every nine seconds a woman is beaten in the U.S.