VSP releases annual crime report data

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Statewide crime numbers for 2018 in Virginia have been released.

The Virginia State Police reports it has published its annual Crime in Virginia report online.

The report contains precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in towns, cities and counties across the Commonwealth, with information also broken down by criminal offenses and arrests as reported by the local law enforcement agency.

According to a release, there was an overall two-percent decrease in violent crimes such as murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault for Virginia.

Regarding the number of homicides, there was a 14 percent decrease from 455 to 391.

VSP says the victims tended to be younger men, with nearly 44 percent being men between the ages of 18 and 34.

The people accused of committing these crimes were also likely to be men, with about 49 percent of them being men between the ages of 18 and 34.

There were more than 3,600 robberies or attempted robberies in Virginia in 2018, which was down about 16 percent over 2017.

Of those cases, 42 percent occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight, but there was little variability regarding what day of the week such crimes were committed.

The number of fraud offenses also went down compared to 2017, by 8.5 percent.

However, some crimes did increase, including motor vehicle thefts and drug arrests.

The number of motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased by 2.4 percent to 10,472, of which 9,836 were recovered.

Of the stolen vehicles, 42.5 percent were taken from a home or residence while 21.8 percent were taken from a parking lot or garage.

Drug and narcotic arrests went up by about three percent, with marijuana accounting for 59 percent of all drug arrests, up 3.6 percent.

However, the number of people being arrested for methamphetamines and amphetamines saw the greatest increase, up almost 69 percent to 3,483.

In Virginia, there were 663 arsons or attempted arsons in 2018, and slightly more than 56 percent occurred at a home or residence.

Regarding the use of weapons in reported violent crimes, firearms were used in about 77 percent of homicides and 55 percent of robberies. To a lesser extent, there were also used in some aggravated assault cases, about 27 percent.

One area that saw a marked decrease was hate crimes, which dropped 20.3 percent compared to 2017.

VSP says, of these crimes, about 60 percent were racially or ethnically motivated, 15.5 percent were based on a bias toward a religion, and 1 about 14 percent were based on a bias toward sexual orientation.

Of the total number of bias-motivated crimes, 33.5 percent were vandalism or destruction of property while another 36 percent involved assault.

The release says the report uses an Incident Based Reporting method to calculate offenses, breaking crimes into two main categories: Group A for serious offenses including violent crimes, property crimes and drug offenses and Group B for less serious offenses like trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations where an arrest occurred.

In total, 279,288 arrests occurred across the Commonwealth, down a little more than one percent from 2017.

The number of adults arrested went down by 1.1 percent and juvenile arrests dipped by 4.3 percent.

To read the full report, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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