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South Coast Officials Say People Heeding Stay At Home Order, But Worry Domestic Abuse Will Spike

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It’s a weekday morning in downtown Santa Barbara.  But, it looks like a ghost town.  Businesses are closed, and there’s only a few cars on State Street.  Public safety officials say in light of the coronavirus health threat, the empty streets are a good thing.  Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown says most people are complying with stay at home orders.  But, they are also worried about a potential spike in domestic abuse.

He, and other public safety officials are concerned that the stay at home orders could also lead to a spike in domestic abuse.  It could be spouse or partner abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, or even animal abuse.

The Sheriff and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley are trying to inform people about an abuse awareness campaign in the community.  The motto is “If you see or hear something, say something.”  Because people aren’t out in the community as much, they are asking people like supermarket workers and gas station employees to be on the lookout for possible abuse.

Meanwhile, Dudley says they are investigating some reports of price gouging as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  But, Dudley says some of the complaints may not turn into cases.  She says some retailers may have been reacting to price hikes by their suppliers.  If their costs go up, retailers can raise prices to cover them, but they can increase profit by a maximum of 10%