ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Nearly one month after Governor Ralph Northam issued a stay-at- home order, the Albemarle County Police Department says it is seeing an increase in the number of people violating statewide restrictions.
Police Chief Ron Lantz says the department has seen an increase in calls from week to week. Instead of punishment, officers are focusing on education.
Executive Order 55 bans any group of 10 or more from gathering in Virginia, but Lantz says that has not stopped some people from trying.
"It’s neighborhoods, parks, things like that,” Albemarle County Police Chief Ron Lantz said. “It went up originally it has kind of leveled off now, the number of calls we’re receiving,”
He says initially there was a decrease in crime overall but as time went on that changed.
The county has seen an increase in larcenies and a decrease in driving under the influence arrests.
"It’s always good practice to secure your valuables and lock your car but we have seen a spike in larcenies from vehicles and a lot of those unfortunately are people leaving valuables in their cars with unlocked doors," Lantz said.
While the data the county has is still relatively new, Lantz says car crashes have been happening at a steady rate.
"There are a lot less cars on the road but we're still having too many crashes and I know speed is one of the things that's been talked about across the state about how people seem to be driving quicker, more distracted because there’s less cars on the road," Lantz said.
ACPD officers responding to calls will be in personal protective equipment and ask people to come outside to meet them if possible.
Lantz says he wants to remind the community that we are not in the clear yet.
"Be kind to each other, we're going to get through this we just have to be smart about it and not start edging out quicker than what we're being told by the experts," Lantz said.
ACPD has not issued any citations to those violating Executive Order 55 and have had no repeat offenders.