February 15, 2023

Violent Crime in Virginia Beach Was Down in 2022 with the Help of Technology

Police Chief Paul Neudigate recently briefed City Council on last year’s city-wide crime statistics.

Police crime scene do not cross line

Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate recently presented detailed crime statistics for 2022 to the Virginia Beach City Council. Overall, he reported that Part I violent crimes (which include both violent crimes – murder, aggravated assault, rape, robbery – and certain property crimes – burglary, motor vehicle thefts, thefts from motor vehicles and all other thefts) are down. Of all the 8,941 Part I crimes committed in Virginia Beach in 2022, just 5.7% (510) were violent crimes.


Virginia Beach Rape Statistics 2019-2022

Virginia Beach Rape Statistics 2019-2022

Violent Crime (Homicide, Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assault)

Total Part I Violent Crime was down more than 12% over 2021 and almost 21% over the last five years bucking a nationwide trend. “So, while many other cities are going in the exact wrong direction in regards to violent crime, we are actually showing decreases and we had our best year in five years last year,” Neudigate said.

Rape was down 23% over 2021, aggravated assault was also down more than 25% relative to the previous year.

Unfortunately, robberies were up 12% over 2021, but still down from 2019. This, according to the chief, was primarily attributable to a series of around 30 offenses committed in the City by three robbery crews working together to hit targets in both Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The Virginia Beach Police Department partnered with Norfolk Police to successfully apprehend all three crews and one has already been federally indicted.

Shooting Victims

2022 Regional Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents

2022 Regional Homicide Rate per 100,000 Residents

The total number of shooting victims decreased by 14.7% from 75 in 2021 to 64 in 2022. This may be, in part, due to the fact that VBPD’s gun seizures were up 32% last year and 64.4% over 2017.

However, despite a decrease in total shooting victims, sadly, more succumbed to their injuries. Fatal shootings increased from 11 in 2021 to 19 in 2022.

Comparison of 2022 Homicide Rate for Similar Sized U.S. Cities

Comparison of 2022 Homicide Rate for Similar Sized U.S. Cities

Of the 23 homicides in Virginia Beach last year, 18, or just over 78% have been cleared and VBPD detectives are actively pursuing leads and witnesses on the remaining five cases and this rate is anticipated to increase. It is worth noting that the department’s current homicide clearance rate far exceeds the national average of 54% (as reported by the FBI in 2020).

Virginia Beach also had the lowest homicide rate both overall and per 100,000 residents when compared to other cities in the United States of similar size and population.

Property Crime (Burglary, Theft of Motor Vehicle, Theft from Motor Vehicle and All Other Larceny)

Property Crime in 2022 accounted for 94.3% of all Part I Crimes in Virginia Beach

Property Crimes increased slightly — by 11.9% over last year and up 9% over the three-year average —mostly driven by thefts from automobiles and “other” larceny — primarily shop lifting and retail theft. However, according to the Chief, these increases are relative to COVID years when there were widespread closures and people limiting public exposure — numbers are regressing back to be more in-line with pre-COVID levels in 2019.

Virginia Beach Residential Burglary Statistics 2019-2022

Virginia Beach Residential Burglary Statistics 2019-2022

Residential burglary was down almost 10% from 2021 but has declined an impressive 37% compared to 2019.

Theft from motor vehicles is up from 2021 (2,928 versus 3,143 in 2022). According to the Chief, motor vehicle thefts are also up nearly 13% but he noted that a common precursor to stealing a car is an attempted theft from an automobile. And department data reveals that almost 40% of the time vehicles are stolen, a key fob has been left in the vehicle.

Chief Neudigate touted the technological investments the department has made over the past two years explaining that these enhancements have been instrumental in the downward trend in Part I crime in 2022.

“The City has invested in technology to enhance our officers’ enforcement and investigative capabilities, improving evidentiary outcomes and enhancing officer safety,” said Neudigate. “These investments are a testament to our commitment to community-oriented policing and data-driven practices. I’m excited to see how these crime trends evolve in the future as our analytic capabilities and resources grow.”

For additional details, view the Chief’s full presentation below.

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