Thanksgiving Domestic Violence: A Tale of Two H-Town November Weekends
Sadly, there were dozens of terrible Thanksgivings here in Houston this weekend.
Thanksgiving is all about long hours in hot kitchens, feuding family members (and in-laws) cooped up together, perhaps a surplus of alcohol, and a preponderance of testosterone coming from the football games on TV.
Taken together, it seems like it could be a recipe for a side order of domestic violence along with the turkey and trimmings.
To find out if that hypothesis was true, we analyzed Harris County court records and toted up every manner of domestic violence for this past Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
As a control, we counted the same crimes that were allegedly committed over a two-day period the weekend before.
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 22, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UCF Knights Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. Florida Atlantic University Owls Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 5, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulane University Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 12, 11:00am
For that weekend, we used Saturday, November 17, and Sunday, November 18. Most of the Friday assault perps would not be booked into jail until the wee hours of Saturday morning, and most people were working Friday daytime that week.
The crimes we included were aggravated assault of a family member (second-degree felony), assault of a family member with choking enhancement (third-degree felony), assault/bodily injury of a family member (third-degree felony) and simple assault of a family member (class A misdemeanor).
Here are the control group results:
Aggravated assault of a family member: Four, including a knifing, a shooting, a running over with a car, and a punching in the mouth with a pair of brass knuckles. (Possession of which is a crime in and of itself.)
Assault of a family member, with choking enhancement Six.
Assault/bodily injury of a family member Four.
Simple assault of a family member 21.
And now, the Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday results:
Aggravated assault of a family member Three, including two knifings and a man whomping another man over the head with a cane. (Down 25 percent from the control week.)
Assault of a family member, with choking enhancement Nine. (Up 33 percent from the control week.)
Assault/bodily injury of a family member Eight. (Double the control week.)
Simple assault of a family member 19, a few percentage points off the control week's pace.
There were 39 total alleged crimes of family violence on Thanksgiving/Black Friday, five more than the Saturday and Sunday of the week before.
What's more, with almost 33 percent more felony arrests in the Thanksgiving/Black Friday numbers, it appears that the assaults on those days tend to be more severe.
And keep in mind, some domestic violence experts contend that some parents will grin and bear assaults until after the holiday is over, so the actual number of beatings could be far worse.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.