Sunday, February 25, 2024

Report: Virginia, US Crime Rates See Post-Pandemic Decline

A recent Council on Criminal Justice Report finds homicide has reached 2020 levels (24%) this year, after peaking at 40% in 2021. (Adobe Stock)

WASHINGTON — A recent report finds crime across cities in Virginia and the nation is in sharp decline.

The Council for Criminal Justice report tracked crime data for 37 cities across the country. Across these cities, homicides were around 10% lower during the first half of 2023, compared with the same period the year before. Robberies, residential burglaries and aggravated assaults also declined during the same period.

However, report co-author Ernesto Lopez said it’s interesting that car thefts rose 104%, although there could be a reason behind it.

“Many stolen vehicles over the last few months to a year are likely certain Kia and Hyundai models. Approximately, 9 million of these vehicles can be vulnerable to vehicle theft,” he said. “While these manufacturers are now providing security updates, it will take some time to install those updates for a sufficient number of vehicles.”

He said it will be interesting to see where vehicle theft rates go from here. A settlement was reached, providing $200 million in compensation for people affected by this particular theft. Safety updates were made available for numerous Kia and Hyundai vehicles, but the Associated Press found 8.3 million cars are still vulnerable to these safety issues.

Even at pre-pandemic levels, crime was still at an all time high. The report found violent crimes reached their lowest levels in 2014, which was on par with crime levels during World War II.

Lopez described what can be done at a policy level to ensure this downward trend continues.

“States and the federal government can provide resources to local governments, or the federal government can provide resources to states,” he said. “Also, providing a strong data infrastructure can encourage data sharing amongst agencies.”

He added that a challenge to ensuring cities are implementing best practices is funding not being sustained. Also, Lopez noted that crime-reduction programs need to be continuously re-evaluated to ensure they’re operating properly.

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