Violent, Property Crimes Down in VA - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Violent, Property Crimes Down in VA

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State Police statistics show both violent and property crimes fell about 3 percent in Virginia in 2012 compared to the year before.

The report released Monday showed there were 316 murders in the state last year, compared with 305 in 2011.

State Police say drug and narcotics offenses rose 9.4 percent and increased for the third straight year. Crimes such as burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts fell 3.3 percent, while murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults dropped by 3 percent. Specifically, there was a 13.2 percent decrease in robberies. Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts fell 8 percent.

The report didn't specify reasons behind the changes.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Virginia State Police
Press Release

RICHMOND – Virginia's official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2012 is now available online at the Virginia State Police Web site at http://www.vsp.virginia.gov, under "Forms & Publications." The detailed document, titled Crime in Virginia, provides precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in towns, cities and counties across the Commonwealth. The report breaks down criminal offenses by the reporting agency as well as arrests by jurisdiction.

The following 2012 crime trends within Virginia are presented in the report:

  • Virginia experienced a decline in violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) of 3.0 percent compared to 2011; the FBI figures for the same period of time are not yet available.
  • Property crime such as burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft decreased 3.3 percent; the FBI figures for the same period of time are not yet available.
  • The homicide rate increased slightly for 2012 (3.86) compared to 2011 (3.77) per 100,000 population. Based on the ages reported, victims tended to be older than offenders; 23 percent of homicide victims were 50 years of age or older, while only 6 percent of offenders were in the same age group.
  • Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts decreased 8.0 percent.  Of the 8,988 motor vehicles stolen, 4,729 or slightly over one-half were recovered (52.6%). Automobiles and trucks stolen had the highest percent recovered (62.4 percent, 62.9 percent), while recreational and "other" motor vehicles (motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles, etc.) had the lowest percent recovered (35.6 percent, 32.5 percent). Four out-of-ten (40.3 percent) of all motor vehicle offenses were reported stolen from the location of residence or home. The value of all motor vehicles stolen was $59,806,194, while the value recovered was $33,021,149 (52.2 percent).
  • Drug and narcotic offenses showed slight decreases in 2009 (-2.5%) and 2008 (-3.5%). For the past three years drug offenses have increased compared to the previous year (5.3 percent in 2010, 7.1 percent in 2011 and 9.4 percent for 2012).
  • Fraud offenses increased by 7.5 percent when compared to 2011.
  • Robbery decreased 13.2 percent. Of the 4,729 robberies and attempted robberies, 37 percent took place between 8 pm. and midnight. The days of the week showed little variability with the most robberies occurring on Saturdays (16 percent) and the fewest on Thursdays (13 percent).
  • Of the weapons reported, firearms were the most frequently used in homicides (71 percent) and robberies (57 percent). 
  • There were 143 hate crimes reported in 2012. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward sexual orientation was next highest (19 percent) while bias toward religion comprised 16 percent. The remaining 2 percent reported was attributed to a bias against a victim's physical or mental disability. The offense of destruction/damage/vandalism of property was associated in just over half of all reported bias motivated crimes (51 percent).        

The report employs an Incident Based Reporting (IBR) method for calculating offenses, thus allowing for greater accuracy. IBR divides crimes into two categories: Group A for serious offenses including violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault), property crimes and drug offenses, and Group B for what are considered less serious offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations where an arrest has occurred.

For Group A offenses, between 2011 and 2012, adult arrests in Virginia decreased less than one percent (-0.88 percent). Juvenile arrests for Group A offenses decreased 11.8 percent statewide during the same period of time. Crime in Virginia reports that Group B arrests decreased 5.1 percent for adults, and decreased 5.8 percent for juveniles between 2011 and 2012. For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 355,595 arrests in 2011 compared to 341,557 arrests in 2012, representing a decrease of 3.9 percent.

Per state mandate, the Department of Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs' offices. The data are collected by the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division via an automated system, and then compiled into Crime in Virginia, an annual report for use by law enforcement, elected officials, media and the general public. These data become the official crime statistics for the Commonwealth and are sent to the FBI which modifies and incorporates them in their annual report, Crime in the United States. 

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