Violent Crime Down, Theft Up

The good news is that violent crime has dropped in Albemarle and Charlottesville this year: homicides are down 100% in Albemarle and 50% in Charlottesville; rapes are down 19% in the county and 22% in the city; and aggravated assaults are down 12% in the county and 13% in the city. The bad news is that theft is on the increase — it’s up by 50% in Albemarle and 31% in Charlottesville. This after years of declines in burglaries in the county, dropping annually from 2000 to 2004. Given the small number of actual crimes (88 burglaries in Charlottesville from January 1 – May 31), police figure that this is a result of a small burglary ring at work. These break-ins are happening not at night, as was going on last year, but in the daytime, when people are less likely to be home. Note that the Albemarle statistics are just for the first quarter, while Charlottesville’s are for the first five months of the year. Rob Seal has the story in today’s Daily Progress.

Albemarle county provides some aggregate crime statistics on their website, while Charlottesville provides only this puzzling chart. I wish the area police departments would provide raw incident data on their site — date, time, crime classification and block address — to permit citizens to find out exactly what’s going on in their neighborhood or, better yet, compile their own crime statistics. I’d love to put together a Google map plotting crime locations over time, create a scatterplot of crime trends, or create an RSS feed to track auto thefts.