Crime Is Up

The State Police publish an annual report, Crime in Virginia.  They count the “Type A” offenses:

Destruction/Damage/Vandalism of Property
Drug/Narcotic Offenses
Fraud Offenses
Gambling Offenses
Motor Vehicle Theft
Pornography/Obscene Material
Prostitution Offenses
Sex Offenses, Forcible & Nonforcible
Stolen Property Offenses
Weapon Law Violations

These data have their peculiarities.  The VSP reports the number of offense reports, not offenses reported, so multiple offenses often are reported as a single incident.  In such cases, they report the worst.  Thus an incident where somebody sticks up a liquor store, beats up the clerk, and murders an bystander will be reported as a homicide.

They also report the numbers by police agency.  Thus, in Richmond there are separate data for the RPD (20,921 incidents in 2015), the State Police (269 in Richmond), the VCU Police (1,027), and the Capitol Police (117).  The Richmond data below are for the RPD.

Mr. Westerburg of the State Police has been kind enough to email me the spreadsheets behind Table VIII in the annual report, which spares me the chore of extracting the data from a pdf.  Whew!

In terms of total, 2015 shows a slight increase in incident reports, both statewide and in Richmond (I didn’t pull the 2014 data, hence the gaps).


The Richmond rate of 9,600 per 100,000 perhaps is more understandable if expressed as 9.6 per hundred population.

Among the Virginia police jurisdictions with populations >10,000, here are the 2015 “leaders”:


For some reasons we might argue about, our peer jurisdictions show lower rates than we do.

Note: The State Police know how to spell “department.”  But their database truncates at 25 characters.

The totals are largely driven by property crime.  Typically, larceny, vandalism, and motor vehicle theft will account for 2/3 of the total.  To find out about violent and drug trends, we need to dig down some.  Here, for a start are the annual Richmond numbers for assaults. 

Note: Data below are total incidents reported by RPD; our population has held near 200K recently so divide by 2 to get a quick estimate of the count per 100K.


Weapon law incidents are up; drug offenses about steady, and robberies slightly down.


Arson, kidnapping, murder, rape, and other forcible sex offenses all are up.


For a list of the hot blocks in Richmond in 2013 see this page.  I won’t be updating that page: The City no longer allows large downloads from the RPD database so it takes a FOIA request and the cost of some bureaucrat’s time to get the data.  Our tax dollars at “work.”

And see this page for data showing a nice improvement in Forest Hill, at least through 2013.  The updating there takes only a small download and is on my ToDo list.