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Homicides spiked 9.5 percent in Virginia last year, while motor-vehicle thefts, burglaries and drug arrests declined, according to Virginia State Police statistics released May 29.

There were 375,639 incidents reported by contributing Virginia law-enforcement agencies last year, resulting in 418,888 offenses. Agencies reported 434,911 Group A (major) crimes, including 17,993 violent crimes, 51 percent of which occurred in a residence or home.

Law-enforcement agencies last year reported 428 homicides (including murders and non-negligent manslaughters), up from 391 in 2018. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 accounted for 37.2 percent of those victims and were the perpetrators in 52.2 percent of the homicides in which a defendant has been charged.

Violent crime was up 2.5 percent overall, with 18,717 offenses reported. Suspects used firearms in 78.9 percent of the homicides and 50.8 of the robbery cases, but in only 28.2 percent of aggravated-assault offenses, officials said.

There were 10,575 motor vehicles, worth nearly $99.4 million, stolen last year, down 4.2 percent (including attempted thefts) from 2018. Authorities recovered 6,252 stolen motor vehicles last year, some of which may have been stolen earlier.

Drug arrests were down 6 percent last year, with 74,219 offenses reported. Marijuana-related arrests, which were the most frequent, declined 8.3 percent, but there were 4,646 arrests involving amphetamines or methamphetamines, a 33.4-percent increase.

Burglaries and attempted burglaries were down 7.5 percent, with 13,978 cases recorded. Three-quarters of those cases occurred at residences or homes, Virginia State Police said.

Virginia law-enforcement agencies last year reported 185 hate crimes involving 187 victims, a 16.2-percent increase compared with 2018. Sixty-one percent of those offenses were assaults (either aggravated or simple) or involved property destruction, damage or vandalism. Racial or ethnic motivations were behind 63.6 percent of the offenses. Bias against the victims’ sexual orientation accounted for 17.7 percent of the offenses and religion was the motivating factor in 15 percent of the offenses.

Law-enforcement agencies overall made 274,636 arrests last year, a 1.7-percent drop. Agencies also reported 1,939 assaults on officers, but there was no corresponding figure for the previous year. Officers were injured in 27.6 percent of those cases.

State Police dedicated the report, titled “Crime in Virginia 2019,” in memory of Trooper Lucas Bartley Dowell. A four-year veteran of the agency, Dowell was shot to death Feb. 4 last year while helping execute a search warrant at a home near Farmville

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PWC resident since '69

Thank you Governor Northam, contrary to the GOP naysayers you did accomplish something!

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