Drug-related offenses dominate crime

Published 8:00 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

The Virginia State Police (VSP) has recently released its annual crime analysis report for 2022, revealing a trend of rising violent crimes across the Commonwealth.

According to the report, Virginia experienced a 5% increase in violent crime rates last year. The statistics from the VSP indicate that the Commonwealth witnessed a rise in violent crimes to 203 incidents per 100,000 individuals.

This figure marks a significant jump from the 194.4 incidents recorded in 2021.The study shows there were more than 17,000 violent crimes reported in 2022, compared with more than 16,800 in 2021.

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. Overall, the violent crime rate increased in 2022 to 203 crimes (per 100,000 population) from 194.4 in 2021.

Drug arrests were down in 2022 by almost 9% compared to 2021. However, the number of people under 18 years old arrested on drug charges went up, VSP said.

In Lunenburg, drug arrests accounted for the most crimes with 24 individuals arrested.

Following drug arrests were simple assaults of 20 and aggravated assaults of 10.

Other crimes in Lunenburg included Negligent Manslaughter – 1, Intimidation – 2, Burglary/Breaking Entering- 1, Destruction/Damage/ Vandalism – 3, False Pretenses – 1

Impersonation – 1, Shoplifting – 1, All Other Larceny – 3, Weapon Law Violations – 2.

The crime report for Luneburg showed no hate crimes, however on the state level in 2022, hate and bias crimes saw a 48% increase over 2021.

Of those crimes, 64% were racially or ethnically motivated, according to the data. That was followed by offenses targeting the sexual orientation or religion of people.

HOMICIDE AND OTHER CRIMES

While Lunenburg saw one homicide in 2022, homicides across the state were up 10.5% with 621 people killed in 2022.

The report also showed both victims and offenders were on the younger side, with 42% of murder victims being between the ages of 18 to 34 and just over 52% of those who committed the crimes in the same age group.

The following 2022 crime figures in Virginia are presented in the report:

The number of reported homicides increased from 562 to 621 (10.5%). The murder/non-negligent manslaughter rate increased from 6.49 in 2021 to 7.14 in 2022 (per 100,000 population). Victims and offenders tended to be younger males; 42.7% of homicide victims were men between 18 and 34 and 52.2% of known offenders were men between 18 and 34. Slightly over half (52.1%) of all homicides occurred at a residence/home.

Motor vehicle thefts and attempted thefts increased 21.9% compared to 2021. During 2022, there were 14,185 motor vehicles reported stolen in 13,651 offenses. In 2022, 8,337 motor vehicles were recovered (vehicles may have been stolen prior to 2022). Of all motor vehicles stolen, 33.9% were taken from the residence/home. The reported value of all motor vehicles stolen was $201,069,627.

Burglary increased by 3.8% between 2021 and 2022. This is the first increase in burglaries and attempted burglaries in over a decade. In 2021, there were 10,464 burglaries and attempted burglaries whereas in 2022 there were 10,860.

Fraud offenses increased 9.9% compared to 2021. Over three-quarters of victims were individuals (77.8%) and 13.6% were businesses. Nearly a quarter (22.5%) of fraud victims were over the age 65.

Of the known weapons reported for violent crimes, firearms were used in 81.6% of homicides and 44.6% of robberies. Firearms were used in more than one-third (37.5%) of aggravated assault cases.