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Report: Violent crimes down; thefts, drug arrests, hate crimes up in Virginia

(PHOTO: Virginia State Police)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Virginia State Police has issued its annual "Crime in Virginia" report to show the rates and occurrences committed in towns, cities, and counties across the state.

The report breaks down criminal offenses by the reporting agency as well as arrests by jurisdiction.

Overall, state police said Virginia had a 3.9 percent decrease in violent crime (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) compared to the previous reporting period.

Property crime in Virginia, including burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, also decreased by 2.6 percent when compared to the previous year.

The following 2017 crime figures in Virginia are presented in the report:

  • The number of reported homicides decreased from 480 to 455, down 5.2 percent. Victims and offenders tended to be relatively young: 48 percent of homicide victims and 64 percent of offenders were less than 30 years of age. Victims and offenders were most likely to be male (72%, 86% respectively).
  • Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 3.9 percent compared to the previous year. Of the 10,223 motor vehicles stolen, 6,438 or 63 percent were recovered. Of all motor vehicles stolen, trucks had the highest frequency of being recovered (73%) followed by automobiles (68%). Recreational and “other” motor vehicles (motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles, etc.) were least likely to be recovered (49%, 39% respectively). Of all motor vehicles stolen, 43 percent were taken from the residence/home. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $86,025,726.
  • Drug and narcotic arrests increased when compared to the previous reporting period (15.6%). Where type of drug was known, 71 percent of all drug arrests were for marijuana. Marijuana arrests increased 20.6 percent compared to the previous reporting period. Arrests for heroin and crack cocaine decreased and arrests for powder cocaine and amphetamines/methamphetamines increased.
  • Fraud offenses decreased almost 4 percent compared to 2016.
  • Of the 809 arsons and attempted arsons that were reported, nearly half 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 10 percent. Of the 4,320 robberies and attempted robberies 42 percent took place between 8 p.m. and midnight. Days of the week showed little variability in terms of the number of robberies that took place although more took place on Friday and Saturday than any other days of the week.
  • Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 74.6 percent of homicides and 58.2 percent of robberies. Firearms were used to a lesser extent in the offense of aggravated assault (27.3%).
  • There were 202 hate crimes reported in 2017 representing a 47.4 percent increase compared to 2016. Over half were racially or ethnically motivated. Bias toward religion and sexual orientation were next highest. The remaining 5 percent reported was attributed to a bias against a victim’s physical or mental disability. Of all reported bias motivated crime, 46 percent was associated with destruction/damage/vandalism of property; another 40.6 percent was associated with the offense of assault.
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