New Crime Data Shows Difference in Felony Bookings in Albemarle County & Charlottesville
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Crime rates in Charlottesville and Albemarle County are down but a report shows people are spending more time behind bars. That's according to data from the Jefferson Area Community Criminal Justice Board.
Over the last 10 years, felony bookings at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail (ACRJ) are up 79% in Albemarle County and 38% in Charlottesville. Each booking accounts for one charge placed against a suspect which means one person could have multiple bookings.
Albemarle County has seen a considerable rise in several felony charges including sex and weapon offenses, as well as violent crimes. Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Tracci attributes some of the increase to a range of different factors, including more officers on the beat.
Tracci says the number of felony bookings does not directly reflect the number of cases tried before a jury or resolved in a plea deal. “We have an obligation to bring cases when they are reported, we don't have the luxury or the authority of disregarding crime. And when we do, we're disregarding and ignoring victims of crime. And that's something we don't have the authority or the right to do.”
Staff at ACRJ told NBC29 that Albemarle’s share of the jail population has increased from 37% in 2014 to 48% in 2019. By contrast, Charlottesville made up about half the jail's population in 2014 and has since decreased to about 35%.
“I was pleased to see data provided by the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail indicating that from Fiscal Year 2017 to Fiscal Year 2019, there has been a 12% decrease in the number of individuals incarcerated on City of Charlottesville charges. During that same time frame, there has been over a 20,000-day decrease in the number of inmate bed days utilized by city of Charlottesville inmates. The Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s Office will continue to balance public safety with the fair treatment of offenders," said Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Joseph Platania.
During this same period, Nelson County's share in Fiscal Year 14 was 8% and in Fiscal Year 19 was 13%, according to Martin Kumer, ACRJ's superintendent.