RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Police Department and Hopewell Police Department said car thefts within their jurisdictions are climbing at an alarming rate.

At a third district community meeting last week, Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards outlined crime statistics from last year and compared them to this year so far.

“What’s driving a lot of the city’s crime is motor vehicle thefts,” Edwards said.

Edwards said motor vehicle thefts are up by 74% compared to the this time in 2022.

Hopewell Police also released new data about car thefts last week, saying it’s “alarming to see a significant surge.”

Car thefts in Hopewell are up by 51% compared to last year, according to police. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 2, 2023, there were 53 car thefts in the city. Of those, eight were Kias and 16 were Hyundais. Department officials said officers will continue visiting hotspot areas to deter crimes.

In Richmond, despite the rise in vehicle thefts, Chief Edwards said the city’s violent crime rate is down by 6% and non-fatal shootings are down by 25%.

“We’re at a seven-year low,” said Edwards. “All of those non-fatal shootings are attempted murder, we believe. Very few times will someone actually purposely shoot someone in the foot or something.”

He added that murders are up by 18% this year, and shoplifting is up by more than 50%. He said that the department’s license plate readers have been successful in helping police solve crimes like shootings and car thefts.

Edwards also gave an update on Richmond’s real-time crime center, which will be a high-tech facility that helps the department solve crimes faster by using surveillance and security cameras, license plate reader cameras and shot detection.

Edwards said the department should “have something up and running by the end of the year.”