Alexandria Police Department Provides Summary of Part I Crimes for 2019 and 2020 Year-to-Date
For Immediate Release: October 2, 2020
The Alexandria Police Department has provided a summary of Part I crime for calendar year 2020 to date, compared to the same period in 2019. Excluding certain larcenies and stolen vehicles, there have been 2% fewer reported Part I crimes so far this year. The increase in certain types of offenses has resulted largely from enhanced anti-shoplifting efforts by a few retail stores, and offenses related to vehicles left unattended during the COVID-19 pandemic. If those offenses are included, there has been an 18% increase in overall Part I crimes to date.
Part I Crimes in the City of Alexandria
(January through September 2019 and 2020)
There has been a sharp rise in the number of shoplifting and concealment offenses reported at retail stores, following a significant increase in private loss prevention efforts starting in January 2020. While the stores have identified more shoplifters than before, this does not necessarily represent an increase in shoplifting.
Much of the increase in larcenies from vehicles and stolen cars and bikes can be attributed to owners leaving them unattended for long periods of time while at home during the pandemic. Very few larcenies from vehicles have involved breaking windows; they are typically from unlocked vehicles. Vehicle owners are urged to check their vehicles at least once per day to ensure they are locked and valuables are not in sight, and to move vehicles periodically to reduce the appearance that they are unattended. While crimes are the fault of the persons who commit them and not of the victims, there are steps everyone can take to reduce their risk.
While there have been notable decreases in the number of reported rapes, the Police Department and the City’s Sexual Assault Center are concerned that some rapes may not have been reported if the victims did not feel comfortable making the reports while having to stay in the homes where the rapes occurred. Confidential support is available 24 hours a day by calling the City’s Sexual Assault Hotline at 703.683.7273 or chatting online with The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline. Anyone in immediate danger should call or text 911.
The decrease in residential burglaries is likely connected to residents being present in their homes, since these offenses usually target unoccupied residences. For the same reason, commercial burglaries (typically theft from unattended but locked businesses) are up while larcenies from buildings (typically theft from businesses and housing complexes while they are open) are down.
Assaults involving weapons are also down sharply in 2020. The recent increase in incidents involving shots fired is largely not reflected within Part I crimes, because the incidents are typically non-contact offenses or destruction of property incidents.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation divides offenses into Part I and Part II crimes. Part I crimes are considered more serious because they include crimes against people. It is important to note Alexandria generally has a low crime rate and a low number of criminal incidents. As such, small fluctuations in incidents when comparing annual data can lead to large percentage changes that must be considered in context.
For inquiries from the news media only, contact Lt. Courtney Ballantine at email@example.com or 703.746.6612.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/118104.