Crime Is Down in Virginia Beach

Police Chief Jim Cervera delivered his biannual crime report to the City Council Tuesday. ​
officer speaking with a familyThe data is in and it shows that Virginia Beach was an even safer city in 2018 than it was in 2017. 

Although overall crime – both violent crime and property crime – were down in 2018, there were increases in certain individual criminal acts – specifically aggravated assaults, car thefts and homicides. 

Overall, violent crime dropped 8.7 percent. And, over the last 12 years, the City’s violent crime rate has steadily decreased. For instance, in 2006, 1,384 violent crimes were reported; by comparison, just 608 were reported in 2018. 

In 2018, rapes dropped by 15 percent, robberies by 36 percent, burglary by 25 percent, larceny by 11 percent and arson by 23 percent. Aggravated assaults increased 24 percent, from 249 in 2017 to 310 assaults in 2018. Car thefts increased in 2018 by 24 percent, from 427 to 530. And, homicides increased by 20 percent from 15 to 18.  

Chief Cervera pointed out that the City has consistently fluctuated between 14 and 22 criminal homicides every year for the past 15 years. He also emphasized that despite those increases, the City has been experiencing a consistent downward trend in its overall crime rate over the last 20 years.

Property crimes in 2018 were down as well, decreasing by 10.6 percent compared to 2017. The property crime rate has also steadily decreased since 1999.

Last year, Virginia Beach police officers had 262,374 citizen contacts ranging from calls for service to arrests to citizen stops. Of those encounters, there were 617 use of force incidents — this includes everything from placing hands on someone to unholstering and pointing a weapon — that’s just 0.235 percent of interactions. And, of the 262,374 citizen contacts, there were 99 citizen complaints (0.38 percent) and 20 of those complaints (0.008 percent) were for use of force.

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