Virginia’s official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2019 is now available online at the Virginia State Police website.
The detailed document, titled Crime in Virginia, showcases a new layout this year while continuing to provide precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in towns, cities and counties across the commonwealth. The report breaks down criminal offenses and arrests by the reporting agency.
Violent crime includes the offenses of murder, forcible sex offenses (rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling), robbery and aggravated assault. Overall, Virginia experienced a 2.45% increase in violent crime offenses compared to the previous reporting period. There were 18,717 violent crime offenses reported in 2019 compared to 18,269 violent crime offenses in 2018.
“Forcible Fondling” will be removed from inclusion in violent crime data due to the updated rape definition given by the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The exclusion of “Forcible Fondling” reflects a total of 16,018 violent crime offenses reported in 2019.
The following 2019 crime figures in Virginia are presented in the report:
• The number of reported homicides increased from 391 to 428 (9.5%). Victims and offenders tended to be younger males; 37.2% of homicide victims were men between 18 and 34 and 52.2% of offenders were men between 18 and 34. Nearly half (46.7%) of all homicides occurred at a residence/home.
• Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts decreased 4.2% compared to the previous year which included 11,040 motor vehicles reported stolen in 10,472 offenses. During 2019 10,575 motor vehicles were stolen in 10,044 offenses. In 2019, 6,252 motor vehicles were recovered (vehicles may have been stolen prior to 2019). Of all motor vehicles stolen, 41.3% were taken from the residence/home. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $99,358,971.
• Drug and narcotic arrests decreased by 6% when compared to the previous reporting period. Marijuana arrests accounted for 57% of all drug arrests with a decrease of 8.3% when compared to the previous reporting period. Arrests for amphetamines/methamphetamines had the greatest increase from 3,483 to 4,646 (33.4%).
• Fraud offenses increased 4.2% compared to 2018. Over three-quarters of victims (76.8%) were individuals while 14.6% were businesses. Of the individuals that were victims of fraud, 20.7% were age 65 or older.
• Burglary decreased 7.5%. Of the 13,978 burglaries and attempted burglaries, more than half (54.8%) took place during the day between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Three-quarters (75.3%) occurred at a residence/home.
• Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 78.9% of homicides and 50.8% of robberies. Firearms were used to a lesser extent in the offense of aggravated assault (28.2%).
• There were 185 hate crime offenses, involving 187 victims, reported in 2019 representing a 16.2% increase compared to 2018. Over 60% (63.6%) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward sexual orientation and religion were next highest (17.7%, 15.0%, respectively). Of all reported bias motivated crime, 61% were assault offenses (aggravated assault, simple assault) or destruction/damage/vandalism of property.
The report employs an Incident Based Reporting method for calculating offenses, thus allowing for greater accuracy. IBR divides crimes into two categories: Group A for serious offenses including violent crimes (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault), property crimes and drug offenses, and Group B for what are considered less serious offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations where an arrest has occurred.
For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 274,636 arrests in 2019 compared to 279,288 arrests in 2018, representing an overall decrease in arrests in Virginia of 1.7%. Between 2018 and 2019, adult arrests for Group A and Group B offenses decreased 1.1%. Juvenile arrests also decreased by 9.5%.
Per state mandate, the Department of Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices. The data are collected by the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division via a secured internet system. This information is then compiled into Crime in Virginia, an annual report for use by law enforcement, elected officials, media and the general public. These data become the official crime statistics for the Commonwealth and are sent to the FBI for incorporation into their annual report, Crime in the United States.