Virginia saw a 2%drop in violent crime in 2018. But drug arrests rose 3%, including a 68.8% increase in arrests for stimulants such as methamphetamine, according to a report released recently by the Virginia State Police.

In Halifax County, the number of incidents local authorities responded to decreased from 624 in 2017 to 572 in 2018, with 696 arrests being made here.

Violent crimes listed in the report include murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault.

According to Virginia’s official comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2018, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office responded to four murders and non-negligent manslaughter, one negligent manslaughter, four kidnapping or abductions, four forcible rapes, three forcible sodomies, five sexual assault with an object, eight forcible fondling, one incest, one statutory rape, 26 aggravated assaults, 105 simple assaults, three intimidations and three arsons.

The detailed document titled “Crime in Virginia” provides 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.

The county sheriff’s office also responded to 59 burglaries, six counterfeiting or forging incidents, 75 destruction/damage/vandalism offenses, three embezzlement offenses, four false pretense, swindle or confidence game offenses and seven wire fraud offenses.

They also responded to seven robberies, six shoplifting offenses, 17 thefts from buildings, 17 thefts from vehicles, four thefts of motor vehicle parts or accessories, 112 other larcenies, 22 motor vehicle thefts, 82 drug or narcotic violations, 11 drug equipment violations, one pornography or obscene material violation and 20 weapon law violations.

Virginia State Police responded to one forcible rape, one aggravated assault, one intimidation offense, a bribery offense, a burglary, five counterfeiting offenses, a vandalism, an embezzlement offense, 16 false pretense offenses, two impersonation offenses, a wire fraud offense, two pocket-picking offenses, five larcenies, a stolen property offense, 41 driving under the influence offenses, 113 drug violations, a drug equipment violation, two betting offenses and seven weapon law violations.

Halifax County has a population of 25,647, according to the report, with an incident rate per 100,000 of 2,713.8.

South Boston Police Department responded to 693 incidents in 2018, down from the 768 incidents in 2017.

Reported crimes included two kidnappings, two forcible rapes, one forcible sodomy, two forcible fondling incidents, a statutory rape, 18 aggravated assaults, 128 simple assaults, 12 intimidation offenses, and an arson offense.

Also South Boston Police officers investigated 41 burglaries, 22 counterfeiting offenses, 74 vandalisms, destruction or damage offenses, six embezzlement offenses, 18 false pretense offenses, three credit card or automatic teller fraud offenses, four impersonation offenses, four wire fraud offenses, eight robberies, a pocket-picking offense, 144 shoplifting offenses, 22 thefts from buildings, 42 thefts from motor vehicles, five thefts of motor vehicle parts or accessories and four motor vehicle thefts.

South Boston Police Officers also responded to one stolen property offense, two writing bad check offenses, three disorderly conduct offenses, 20 driving under the influence offenses, 34 drunkenness offenses and 11 trespassing offenses.

In other incidents, South Boston Police responded to 95 drug or narcotic violations, 24 drug equipment violations, two pornography or obscene violations and 30 weapon law violations.

The town of South Boston had a population of 7,773 last year, according to the report, with an incident rate per 100,000 of 4,322.7.

Halifax Police Department responded to 41 incidents, down from the 61 incidents in 2017, including one incest offense, 10 simple assaults, two burglaries, 14 destruction, damage or vandalism of property offenses, two shoplifting offenses, one theft from a building, one theft from a motor vehicle and seven larcenies.

Halifax Police also responded to 13 drug or narcotic violations, a drug equipment violation, a weapon law violation, 10 driving under the influence offenses, seven drinking offenses, two liquor law violations, two trespassing and five other offenses.

The town of Halifax had a population of 1,227 last year, according to the report, with an incident rate per 100,000 of 3,341.5.

Adult arrests in the county last year totaled 1,044, and 29 juveniles were charged with various offenses.

Overall, Virginia experienced a 2% decrease in violent crime (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) compared to the previous reporting period.

The number of reported homicides decreased from 455 to 391 or (-14.1%). Victims tended to be younger males; 43.7% of homicide victims were men between 18 and 34, and 49.4% of offenders were men between 18 and 34.

Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 2.4% compared to the previous year.  During 2018, 10,472 motor vehicles were stolen, and 9,836 motor vehicles were recovered. Of all motor vehicles stolen, 42.5% were taken from the residence/home and an additional 21.8% from a parking lot or garage. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $94,796,605.

 Drug and narcotic arrests increased when compared to the previous reporting period (3%). Marijuana arrests accounted for 59% of all drug arrests, with an increase of 3.6%, when compared to the previous reporting period.

Arrests for amphetamines/methamphetamines had the greatest increase from 2,063 to 3,483 (68.8%).

Fraud offenses decreased 8.5% compared to 2017.

Of the 663 arsons and attempted arsons reported, slightly more than 56% reported the location as “residence/home.”  Neither the time of the day nor the day of the week appears to be associated with this offense.

Robbery decreased 16.1%. Of the 3,623 robberies and attempted robberies, 42% took place between 6 p.m. and midnight. Days of the week showed little variability in terms of the number of robberies that took place.

Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 77.2% of homicides and 55% of robberies. Firearms were used to a lesser extent in the offense of aggravated assault (27.4%).

There were 161 hate crimes reported in 2018, which represented a 20.3% decrease compared to 2017. More than half (60.2%) were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward religion and sexual orientation were next highest (15.5%, 14.3%, respectively). Of all reported bias-motivated crime, 33.5% was associated with destruction/damage/vandalism of property; another 36% was associated with the offense of assault.    

The report employs an incident based reporting (IBR) 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 rape, 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. 

Between 2017 and 2018, adult arrests for Group A and Group B offenses decreased 1.1%. Juvenile arrests also decreased by 4.3%.

For both Group A and Group B offenses, there were a total of 279,288 arrests in 2018, compared to 282,987 arrests in 2017, representing an overall decrease in arrests in Virginia of 1.3%.

Per state mandate, the Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices.

Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division collects the data 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 becomes the official crime statistics for the commonwealth and is sent to the FBI incorporating them into their annual report, Crime in the United States.