June 2, 2014
Virginia State Police released crime statistics for 2013, and the number of crimes is up in Albemarle County while the number of arrests is down.
"It's not a surprise to us," police chief Col. Steve Sellers said. "We've seen it unfold as it occurred."
In Albemarle County, police made 2,663 arrests in 2012, compared to 2,457 arrests in 2013. But the number of criminal incidents has gone up.
"I don't think the rise of crime we've seen is alarming," Sellers said. "I don't think it's of a significant public safety concern in terms of life-threatening types of events."
The county has seen significant increases in larcenies and aggravated assaults.
"Those are the more serious assaults," Sellers said. "We believe some of that is related to the increase in gang activity."
Sellers said the discrepancy between more incidents and fewer arrests could be due to a number of factors. In some instances, he said, one person could be arrested for multiple criminal incidents. Another factor is officer capacity, as the number of calls for service has increased year after year, as well.
"Our officers are going from call to call to call with less flexibility to concentrate on focusing on a specific investigation," Sellers said.
One potential reason for the increase in crime, Sellers said, is the aging population in Albemarle County. The teenage population is growing, and that age group often contains a number of people arrested for certain crimes. Another population that's growing is the senior citizen group, and those people are more often victims of crime.
An area where crime has gone down in the county is arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. Sellers attributes that to increased patrols and education campaigns.
"Crime sees no boundaries. So we have to work seamlessly with our partners in the city and with UVa and the surrounding counties, and we do so day in and day out," he said.
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