Virginia’s Decline in Crime

Source: Demographics Research Group, StatChat blog

One of the advantages of living in Virginia is that citizens are less likely than other Americans on average to become crime victims. The rate of violent crimes (seen above ) is about half the national average, according to data published today on the StatChat blog based on 2017 FBI crime data. The rate for property crimes is only three-quarters of the national average. That’s pretty impressive considering that Virginia’s demographics come pretty close to matching the national profile. The Old Dominion is doing something right.

Not that you’d know it by reading Charlottesville’s Daily Progress today.

The newspaper built an article around the fact that African-Americans comprised 54.3% of all arrests between March 30, 2014, and March 28, 2019, compared to their population percentage of only 19%.

That ratio may change, the newspaper said hopefully, thanks to the law enacted by the General Assembly this session that will end the state’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid court fines and fees. “It does affect more people who are black and brown, particularly low income, because they don’t have the money to pay those fees,” said Harold Folley, a community organizer for the Legal Aid Justice Center.

I wouldn’t expect professional grievance mongers like Folley to refer to the FBI crime victimization data — after all, what purpose use would there be for community organizers if there isn’t systemic racism to fight? But I would expect reporters or editors to make such a check.

Just as a disproportionate number of crime arrests are of blacks, so are a disproportionate number of crime victims. In Virginia African-Americans comprise about 20% of the population. In 2017 (the most recent year that FBI crime incident data is available), they comprised 41% of crime victims.

The statewide trend over the past 10 years has been, until about 2015, for fewer white and black crime victims.

Over the decade, the number of black crime victims fell by 17.8%. In 2017 that meant 1,724 fewer black victims of violent crimes compared to a 2007 baseline.

The FBI database doesn’t publish a breakdown for Charlottesville. But it would be surprising if the People’s Republic didn’t show a commensurate decline in the number and percentage of black crime victims.

Now, if you’re really determined to find racists behind every bush, you could point to the fact that the number of white crime victims fell even more over the same than it did for black victims — by 24.3%. Thus, the trend toward fewer crime victims is itself racist because white people benefited somewhat more than black people do! Well, if grievance mongers want to make that argument, they can be my guest!

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3 responses to “Virginia’s Decline in Crime

  1. So what is causing the reduction?

    There are some fascinating articles about how Google captures location information from cell phones – from everyone who has a cell phone who has enabled the GPS on it which is pretty much mandatory if you want to use Google Maps or other features.

    So if a crime is committed – law enforcement can (and does) ask for a data dump of all cell phones that were at that location at the time of the crime. That’s still not good enough to make everyone a suspect but it’s enough to narrow down a list of likely suspects and then get a warrant for their phone to see who THEIR circle of associates are and what their criminal Bona fides are.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/law-enforcement-taps-googles-sensorvault-for-location-data-report-says/

    Turns out that it’s almost impossible for folks to exist in modern life nowadays without a cell phone – even criminals and if they have said phone – chances are the cops are on to them – and their location and movements.

    • The crime rate has been decreasing for many years. Criminologists still have not come up with a consensus explanation. One theory has to do with cell phones and computer games–so many people, especially youngish ones, are spending so much time indoors on their computers that they are not out and about getting into trouble.

      As for the police using cell phone data for locating suspects, I read that article with interest and felt vindicated. When I got my smart phone several years ago, I made a conscious decision not to turn the GPS locator function on. I did not want Apple or ATT being able to follow me around.

  2. “Turns out that it’s almost impossible for folks to exist in modern life nowadays without a cell phone – even criminals and if they have said phone – chances are the cops are on to them – and their location and movements” …. if they work for a GOP US presidential Campaign, and also in Virginia if they work for a GOP Virginia Governor’s campaign, given the deplorable and proven lack of morals of Virginia’s Democratic leaders today, now at historic lows even by Virginia’s historically low “on average” Democratic party standards.

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