VA State Police release 2018 statewide crime report

Virginia’s official and only comprehensive report on local and statewide crime figures for 2018 is now available online at the Virginia State Police website at www.vsp.virginia.gov, under “Forms & Publications.” 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.

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

The following 2018 crime figures in Virginia are presented in the report:

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 that were 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. 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 sent to the FBI incorporating them into their annual report, Crime in the United States.