Total violent crime offenses down across Virginia between 2019 and 2020, but homicides are up

Local News

(WFXR) — A new crime report for Virginia shows a 1.9 percent decrease in violent crime offenses in 2020 compared to 2019, but a 23.4 percent increase in reported homicides, according to Virginia State Police.

Police say violent crime includes the offenses of murder, forcible sex offenses (rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object per the FBI’s updated rape definition), robbery, and aggravated assault. There were 15,713 violent crime offenses reported in 2020 compared to 16,018 violent crime offenses in 2019.

Some key points in the 2020 report of local and statewide crime shared by Virginia State Police are listed below:

  • The number of reported homicides increased 23.4 percent from 428 to 528. Victims and offenders tended to be younger males; 45.1 percent of homicide victims were men between 18 and 34 and 52.7 percent of offenders were men between 18 and 34.  Nearly half of all homicides occurred at a residence/home.
  • Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 6 percent compared to 2019, during which time 10,575 motor vehicles were stolen in 10,044 offenses. In 2020, there were 11,209 motor vehicles reported stolen in 10,773 offenses, but 6,366 motor vehicles were recovered (vehicles may have been stolen prior to 2020).  Of all motor vehicles stolen, 40.2 percent were taken from the residence/home.  The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $113,993,341.
  • Drug arrests decreased by more than a third with the largest percentage decrease in the under-18 age group (48.6 percent).  The number of reports of drugs seized decreased for nearly all drug types, especially marijuana, due in part to the decriminalization of possessing less than 1 ounce of the drug effective July 1, 2020.
  • Burglary decreased 18.4 percent. Of the 11,413 burglaries and attempted burglaries, more than half took place at night between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., a reverse pattern from 2019 during which time 54.8 percent of burglaries occurred during the day. Furthermore, 68 percent occurred at a residence/home, a decrease of 7.3 percent over the previous year.
  • Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 83 percent of homicides, 50.4 percent of robberies, and 35.2 percent of aggravated assault cases.
  • There were 190 hate crime offenses, involving 193 victims, reported in 2020 representing a 2.7 percent increase compared to 2019. Two offenses indicated more than one type of bias motivation. Approximately 72.8 percent were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward sexual orientation and religion were next highest (14.4 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively). Of all reported bias-motivated crimes, 77.4 percent were assault offenses (aggravated assault, simple assault) or destruction/damage/vandalism of property.    

The report was broken down into Group A (serious offenses including violent crimes, property crimes and drug offenses) and Group B (less serious offenses including trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations).

In 2020 there was a total of 206,609 arrests compared to 274,636 arrests in 2019. This resulted in an overall decrease in arrests in Virginia of 24.8 percent.

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