State Police: Violent crime decreased in 2017 while hate crimes spiked

Crime
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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s violent crime decreased by 3.9 percent compared to the previous reporting period, according to the Commonwealth’s annual ‘Crime in Virginia’ report released Wednesday.

The report, made available on the State Police website, details the local and statewide crime figures for 2017 and categorizes criminal offenses by arrests by jurisdiction and by the reporting agency. 

Despite the dip in violent crime, there were 202 reported hate crimes in Virginia, a 47.4 percent increase from the previous year. 

The spike in hate crimes is mainly attributed to racially or ethnically motivated crimes, 54 percent of reported hate crimes, and bias towards a person’s sexual (19%) or religious orientation (22%). 

Of all the reported bias-motivated crime this year, 40.6 percent were associated with an assault and 46 percent had reports of damaged or destructed property.  

In violent crimes, firearms were the primary weapon of choice for most offenders.

Guns were used in 74.6 percent of homicides and 58.2 percent of robberies in 2017.

The report utilizes an Incident-Based Reporting model for calculating offenses, which splits crimes into two categories: Serious offenses and minor crimes. 

The IBR method aims to provide State Police with more accurate statistics of crime reports. 

Additional crime figures:

  • Drug and narcotic arrests increased by 15.6 percent, mainly due to the 20.6 percent increase of marijuana arrests in 2017. 
  • Marijuana arrests accounted for 71 percent of all drug arrests in Virginia in 2017. 
  • Motor vehicle thefts or attempted thefts increased by 3.9 percent, and of the 10,223 vehicles stolen, 63 percent were recovered. 
  • There were 809 arson or arson attempts, and 48.5 percent reported the location as “residence/home.”
  • Fraud offenses decreased by 3.8 percent compared to 2016. 
  • There were 4,320 robberies or attempted robberies in the Commonwealth, and 42 percent took place between 8 p.m. and midnight. 

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