Crime in Virginia: Violent offenses decrease overall, but homicides increase

Virginia News

(File/Getty)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Violent crime decreased in Virginia in 2020, according to the recently released Crime in Virginia report.

The Virginia Department of State Police (VSP) serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices in the commonwealth.

According to VSP, violent crime includes murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault. Overall, Virginia experienced a 1.9% decrease in violent crime offenses in 2020, compared to 2019. However, the reported rate of murder and aggravated assault increased.

In 2019, there were 428 homicides reported throughout Virginia. In 2020, that number jumped to 528.

In the greater Richmond area, the number of reported murder and non-negligent manslaughter offenses varied, depending on locality:

Locality20192020
Chesterfield County1211
City of Colonial Heights10
Dinwiddie County01
Hanover County00
Henrico County716
City of Hopewell56
Louisa County51
City of Petersburg1925
Prince George County01
City of Richmond5666

According to the Crime in Virginia report, victims and offenders tended to be younger males; 45.1% of homicide victims were men between the ages of 18 and 34, and 52.7% of offenders were men between the ages of 18 and 34.

In instances where the day and time of the murder is known, data shows that most of the murder and non-negligent manslaughter offenses happened on Saturday nights.

Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 83% of homicides and 50.4% of robberies. Most often, those firearms were handguns, with the Crime in Virginia report showing that rifles and shotguns were used less frequently.

In addition to a decrease in violent crime in the commonwealth, burglaries decreased by 18.4% from 2019 to 2020. According to the data, of the 11,413 burglaries and attempted burglaries in 2020, more than half took place at night, between 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. This is a reverse pattern from 2019, during which 54.8% of burglaries happened during the day.

Meanwhile, motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 6% from 2019 to 2020. There were 11,209 motor vehicles reported stolen in 2020, and 6,366 were recovered. Some of the recovered vehicles may have been stolen prior to 2020.

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