January 4, 2007
Charlottesville and Albemarle County appear to be the exact opposite of the rest of the nation. The FBI reports violent crime is up and property crimes are down all across the country. Here, the trend is different.
The busy year of 2006 brought increases in total crime in both Charlottesville and Albemarle County. But both departments say the devil is in the details. Charlottesville recorded three homicides last year, up one from 2005. Albemarle County recorded no homicides last year for the first time since at least 1998.
"Unlike most of the nation, violent crime has decreased, just slightly, but it has decreased in the County. That is something we take pride in," said Albemarle County Lieutenant John Teixeira.
Albemarle County saw a significant reduction in rapes and aggravated assaults but did see a spike in robberies. Charlottesville City reported less rapes and robberies this year but did seen an increase in assaults that resulted in injury.
"Where we really saw an impact on our crime rate, our overall crime rate, is through burglaries and larcenies from automobiles," said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.
Burglaries in Charlottesville rose 18 percent from 2005 while thefts from vehicles increased a whopping 52 percent. The County saw a 29 percent increase in the total amount of burglaries with a rise of 39 percent in residential burglaries.
"A lot of building is going on in the County. Many of the burglaries take place during the daytime while people are away working," Lt. Teixeira said.
And even though the raw numbers have risen, both departments say our community is a safe place to live.
"When I compare what we saw this year compared to other communities across America, I'm confident our strategies are working and I am proud of the work that the men and women of this Police Department have done," Chief Longo said.
Both departments say they are going to focus more manpower and resources to combating the rise in burglaries. All in all, however, they say we live in one of the safest communities in the entire Commonwealth.
The two jurisdictions will next send these numbers to the FBI to be included in the Uniform Crime Report.