Residents in York County can breathe a little easier now that a new report shows crime in the area has decreased.
The Virginia State Police released crime statistics for 2018 and showed crime in York County went down 7.4 percent from the previous year, said Shelley Ward, spokeswoman for the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.
Since 1999, the crime rate in the county has decreased by 24 percent.
Sheriff J. D. “Danny” Diggs said the decrease is the result of a number of aspects.
“I think it’s because we do an excellent job in trying to prevent crime and in detecting and prosecuting criminals,” he said. “When people see that we arrest people for various crimes and we are successful, that’s a deterrent and they will go to other places to do crimes.”
Diggs said the categories that saw the biggest decreases were:
- Burglaries, down 36 percent
- Vehicle theft, down 19 percent
- Fraud down, 16 percent
- Overall theft, down 10 percent
Diggs said one of the biggest problems in the area is theft from vehicles, which would fall under overall theft, and the sheriff’s office has been taking extra care to educate the public on how to best protect their items in their vehicles. He said it can be a significant problem because in one night 30 to 50 cars could have items stolen from them. The sheriff’s office has been working on a campaign reminding people to always lock their doors.
“You can’t just start a program and expect that it work magically,” he said. “But for years we have had active crime prevention programs, putting out videos and going into the community.”
One of the biggest points of pride for the sheriff’s office, Diggs said, is the fact that crime is decreasing despite the population increasing. Since 1999, the population has increased from approximately 58,000 people to 69,000 people in 2018.
“I am very well pleased to be able to tell you the crime is down in York County not just for last year, but for the last twenty years in spite of York’s population growing by 20 [percent] during that time,” Diggs wrote in a news release.
Diggs said there has been a steady and slowly incremental increase in the number of sheriff’s deputies, adding two new positions last year. But the biggest factor is simply education.
“Really it’s things like just overall education and law enforcement presence that we feel are the biggest deterrents in crime,” Diggs said.