VIRGINIA BEACH — Police Chief Jim Cervera delivered his bi-annual crime statistics report to City Council Tuesday — the reportcovered calendar year 2018.
Although overall crime in 2018 was down from the previous year, there were increases in individual criminal acts, such as aggravated assaults and car thefts, Cervera said.
Aggravated assaults increased 24.5 percent, from 204 incidences in 2017 to 256 assaults in 2018. Car thefts increased in 2018 by 24.1 percent. Homicides increased from 15 in 2017 to 18 in 2018 — or 20 percent.
The chief emphasized despite those increases, the city has been experiencing a downward trend in its overall crime rate over the last 20 years.
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Cervera said there has been an increase over the last two years in the number of shootings in the city. There were 36 aggravated assault shooting victims in 2018, according to Cervera’s report.
“This is not unusual with what’s going on around the country,” Cervera said. “What we say is ‘everybody’s got a gun,’ and that is what we are beginning to experience even in our own community.”
Total property crimes in 2018 decreased by 10.6 percent compared to 2017, and has steadily been decreasing since 1999, Cervera said. Total violent crimes in the city also decreased in 2018 by 8.7 percent.
According to statistics cited in Cervera’s presentation, the city in the last 20 years saw a spike in the crime rate in 2006 with 1,384 reported violent crimes reported that year. Since then, violent crimes have decreased, with 608 reported in 2018.
Other numbers cited in Cervera’s report:
- 879 guns collected by police in 2018
- 617 “use of force” incidents between police and residents
- 99 citizen complaints
- 20 complaints for use of force
- 801 weapon law violation charges
- $3,272,407.68 was the estimated street value of drug confiscations
- 149 search warrants executed through special investigation
- 116 opioid overdoes; 30 opioid deaths
Citing community outreach efforts on behalf of the police department, Cervera said police have “broken down barriers” and increased communication with communities in the city.