Area crime varies in 2016

Published 1:18 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Crime rates last year in the Heart of Virginia varied among localities according to the Virginia State Police (VSP) 2016 Crime Analysis that was released June 30.

Sheriff Darrell Hodges

Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office had 146 incidents involving violent crimes in 2016, with an additional 28 dealt with by VSP. In total, Cumberland dealt with five more incidents involving serious crimes in 2016 compared to 2015.

“I think we do have a good working relationship (with county residents), and I think that’s why we’re not skyrocketing,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Darrell Hodges. “We’re not, you know, getting hit like other jurisdictions with such great increases. I think it’s because the fact that citizens work so well with us.”

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Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office had 277 incidents dealt with by the office and an additional 120 incidents dealt with by VSP. According to the crime analysis, this resulted in a decrease of 72 incidents from 2015.

“I am proud that we live in a safer community,” said Prince Edward Sheriff Wesley Reed. “We have a greater patrol footprint due to certain programs.”

Reed said state and local grants provide additional deputies to deter and apprehend subjects engaged in criminal activities.

“We have also had enormous support from the community through neighborhood watch programs, TRIAD and town hall meetings that were sponsored by

Roger Jamerson

some of the Prince Edward Board of Supervisors,” Reed said. “These community policing programs have provided a portal (through) which information from the sheriff’s office has helped people from becoming victims of a crime.”

Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office dealt with 410 incidents of serious crimes in 2016, a decrease of six incidents from 2015. According to the analysis, VSP dealt with 66 incidents of crime in the county, which was a decrease from 85 incidents in 2015.

“Anytime there’s a reduction in (crimes), that’s a good thing,” Buckingham Sheriff’s Office Captain Roger Jamerson said.

He said there was no specific reason to which he could attribute the minute decrease.

Jamerson said the decrease for VSP incidents could be attributed to drug narcotics offenses that most times are dealt with through a joint task force between the county and state.

Wesley Reed

According to a VSP press release, statewide numbers showed a 10 percent increase in violent crime — which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — in 2016 compared to 2015. Homicides increased from 382 to 480.

“Property crime — burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft — overall remains mostly unchanged from the previous year,” officials said in the release.

The release cited statewide drug and narcotic arrests increased overall by 8.7 percent.

“Marijuana was associated with more drug arrests than any other drug,” officials said in the release. “Marijuana arrests increased 10.6 percent compared to the previous reporting period, while arrests for heroin, ‘crack’ cocaine and powder cocaine showed an even greater percent increase compared to the previous reporting period.”

The release cited heroin arrests increased by 17.1 percent, crack cocaine arrests increased by 11.1 percent and powder cocaine arrests increased by 19.4 percent. Robbery increased 7.6 percent.

“Of the 4,796 robberies and attempted robberies, 31.8 percent took place between 8 p.m. and midnight,” officials said in the release. “Days of the week showed little variability in terms of the number of robberies that took place.”

The release also cited an 11.6 decrease in hate crimes compared to 2015.

“Per state mandate, the Department of Virginia State Police serves as the primary collector of crime data from participating Virginia state and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices,” officials said in the release. “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.”