Roanoke City #2 Crime Capital Of Virginia

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As reported by James C. Sherlock here in Bacon’s Rebellion, and shared below by agreement, many residents of the Old Dominion may be surprised to learn that the quaint, historic colonial river town and home of Mary Washington University, Fredericksburg, is also the crime capital of Virginia. Sherlock based his findings on research from 2021 State Police records, and of particular interest to readers in Southwest Virginia, the Number 2 Crime Capital is Roanoke City.
Sherlock also explains how some local police departments and sheriff’s offices are accredited or not. He explains: “The state Office of Criminal Justice Services currently accredits 104 Virginia law enforcement agencies (LEAs) that meet commonly accepted professional standards for efficient and effective agency operation established by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLESPSC).”
Sherlock also listed the sixteen highest-crime cities.
“Virginia’s High Crime Rate Jurisdictions. Now, as reported by the Virginia State Police, let’s look at the jurisdictions:
with Group A crime rates, measured in crimes per 100,000 residents, of over 5,000 in 2021 (report valid as of Mar. 16, 2022); and
in jurisdictions with over 10,000 residents, a minimum cut-off point chosen by author to ensure statistical relevance.
“Below is a list in order of Group A crime rates per 100,000 residents descending. The list is limited to populations greater than 25,000. I have added notable (to the eye of the author) Group A offenses in absolute numbers and have listed the Virginia state accreditation status of the LEAs:
Fredericksburg (Neither Police Department (PD) nor Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 9,317 / pop. 27,956 / Notable: murder and manslaughter (3); sex crimes (35); assaults and intimidations (914); drugs (382); weapons (60). Note: State Police reported 13 drug crimes and seven weapons violations in Fredericksburg – presumably on the short stretch of I-95 in that city); Spotsylvania County and Stafford County rates less than 3,000. Of the two, only Stafford showed notable drug crimes with 784 in a population of 159,247.
Roanoke (City) (PD not accredited, Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 9,290 / pop. 99,883 /Notable – assaults & intimidation (3,124); Arson (26); burglary and Breaking & Entering (473); drugs (1,068); weapons (334). Note: the state police reported an additional 145 drug crimes in Roanoke City.”
According to Sherlock’s findings from the State Police, Roanoke City has more crime per capita than Portsmouth, Danville, Norfolk, Richmond, Petersburg, or any other city in Virginia other than Fredericksburg.
Notably, as reported here, Roanoke City recently had City Council elections. Notably, one candidate, Dalton Baugess (R), has had about a 30-year career in the first-responder field. However, he came in fifth among the eleven candidates. In contrast the top vote-getter and thus the next vice-mayor, Joe Cobb (D), is not known to have any law enforcement background and as reported here, tried to bill a $658 dinner for 17 to a taxpayer-funded state gun violence reduction grant. Cobb has not responded to requests from The Roanoke Star about how a lavish dinner can somehow reduce gun violence in the Star City.
Sherlock’s article continues below:
I wrote on Friday that Fredericksburg has a major crime problem.
After hours of plowing through state crime statistics for 2021, I can now declare Fredericksburg the crime capital of Virginia.
Public safety is the number one job of local government, followed by its schools. The statistics suggest the Fredericksburg law enforcement system – the courts, the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the police department – and the school system are not very good at what they do.
Fredericksburg may wish to acknowledge that by doing something about it. I suggested reversion to town status. I don’t expect that to happen, at least anytime soon. (…)
Accredited LEAs include the Stafford and Spotsylvania Sheriffs Departments and the University of Mary Washington PD. But not the Fredericksburg police.
Perhaps the City Council should ask the City Manager of Fredericksburg why his police department has not even applied for state accreditation. Just a thought.
I will report on Virginia’s crime centers in this article.
The accreditation program. The Commonwealth has under the Department of Criminal Justice Services a Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC).
It functions “to provide law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth with an avenue for demonstrating that they meet commonly accepted standards for efficient and effective agency operation.”
The Commission’s goals include:
To increase the effectiveness and efficiency of Commonwealth of Virginia in the delivery of services;
To promote cooperation and coordination among all components in the criminal justice system;
To ensure the appropriate level of training for law enforcement personnel;
To promote public confidence in law enforcement; and
To promote the professionalism of law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Standards address administration; operations; personnel; and training.
All criminal justice agencies, as defined by the Code of Virginia, are eligible to participate in the program. VLEPSC conducts accreditation with personnel specially trained and certified for the task.
It is both reasonable and important for citizens to ask why many LEAs have not done so.
It is not cost. Many small LEAs participate.
Fear of racial discrimination? No. The City of Petersburg is 77% Black. It’s Bureau of Police is accredited. The Petersburg Sheriff’s Department has applied. The City of Richmond Sheriff’s Office is accredited, as are the Martinsville PD and Sheriff.
Is the Commonwealth too conservative in its LE standards? Consider that the Arlington County PD is accredited.
Are the standards not up to date? Latest edition of the program manual is dated Jan 1, 2022.
Too time consuming? Apparently not. More than 100 LEAs are accredited and 28 more are in the queue awaiting accreditation.
Too difficult? Standards are published and applicants are given two years in advance of the due date of the inspection to prepare. There are mock assessments available. The Commission tries in every way to make sure that an applicant passes.
The non-participating LEAs simply don’t want to adopt and be inspected under those standards.
The ten largest jurisdictions in the Commonwealth by population and accreditation status of their LEAs are:
Fairfax County – PD, yes; Sheriff, yes.
Prince William County – PD, no; Sheriff, yes.
Virginia Beach PD, no, Sheriff, yes.
Loudoun County – Leesburg PD, yes (has no county police department); Sheriff, yes.
Chesterfield County – PD, yes; Sheriff, yes.
Henrico County – PD, no; Sheriff, no.
Chesapeake – PD, no; Sheriff, yes.
Arlington County – PD, yes; Sheriff, no.
Norfolk – PD, no; Sheriff, yes.
Richmond – PD, no; Sheriff, yes.”
Since Fredericksburg is #1 in crime and Roanoke City is #2, Sherlock continues with numbers 3-16 below.
3. Portsmouth (Neither PD nor Sheriff’s Dept. accredited) rate 8,065 / pop. 97,883 / Notable: murders & manslaughters (36); assaults & intimidations (2,352); drugs (233); weapons (204)
4. Danville (PD and Sheriff’s Dept. accredited) rate 7,928 / pop. 42,597 / Notable: murders (6); sex crimes (35); assaults and intimidation (1,216); drugs (326) weapons (182).
5. Norfolk (PD not accredited; Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 6,860 / pop. 238,102 / Notable – murders (62), sex crimes (245); assaults and intimidations (4,998); drugs (876); juvenile arrests (116).Note: the State Police reported two additional murders/manslaughters and a kidnapping in Norfolk.
6. Pulaski – rate about 6500 listed separately:
*Pulaski County Sheriff (not accredited) rate 5,596 / pop. 22,425 / Notable: Murders and manslaughters (3); assaults and intimidations (473); arsons (5); drugs (92); weapons (26). Note: The state police reported an additional manslaughter is Pulaski County)
*Pulaski Police (accredited) rate 7,578 / population 8,657 / Notables: assaults and intimidations (103); drugs (193)
7. Winchester (PD and Sheriff’s Office both accredited) rate 6,342 / pop. 28,021 / Notable assaults & intimidations (525) drugs (282); weapons (51). Note: the state police reported 147 additional drug crimes in Winchester.
8. Richmond (City) (PD not accredited, Sheriff’s Office accredited)rate 6,163 / pop. 226,623 / Notable – murders and manslaughter (89); kidnapping 35; assaults & intimidation (3,009); drugs (599); weapons (962)
9. Hampton (neither PD nor Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 6,037 / pop 136,581 / Notable: murder (27); kidnapping (42); sex crimes (111); arson (24); drugs (575); weapons (694). (Note: State Police reported 19 assaults in Hampton)
10. Lynchburg (PD not accredited; Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 5,661 / pop. 80,054 / Notable: murder & manslaughter (9); sex crimes (77); assaults & intimidations (1,726); drugs (720); weapons (244). Note: the state police reported 39 additional drug crimes in Lynchburg.)
11. Staunton (neither PD nor Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 5,535 / Pop. 25,874 / Notable: assaults & intimidation (404); arson (4); drugs (178)
12. Newport News (PD not accredited, Sheriff’s office accredited) rate 5,283 / pop 185,082 / Notable: murders (29); kidnappings (108); assaults and intimidations (3.797); drugs (491); weapons violations (1,187); juvenile arrests (100)
13. Suffolk (PD not accredited; Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 5,206 / Pop. 96,130 / Notable murder & manslaughter (6); assaults and intimidation (2,076); arson (15); drugs (259); weapons (218)
14. Charlottesville (PD accredited; Sheriff’s office unaccredited) rate 5,113 / pop. 51,079 / Notable: sex crimes (68); assaults/intimidations (795); drugs (159); weapons (41)
15. Petersburg (PD accredited; Sheriff’s Office accredited) rate 5,050 / pop. 32,912 / Notable: murder and manslaughter (18); assaults and intimidations (438); drugs (98); weapons (168).
16. Manassas (neither PD not Sheriff’s office accredited) rate 5,028/ pop. 42,733 / Notable: Kidnapping (15); sex crimes (51); assaults and intimidations (715); drugs (281)
State Police. The state police report a lot of drug and weapons crimes.
In addition to the notes above, state police reported an astonishing 284 drug crimes in Harrisonburg, presumably on I-81. Other major drug crime areas reported by the state police were Frederick County (205), Rockingham (126), Shenendoah County (121), and Warren County (151).
Others. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police reported 57 drug crimes and 770 weapons violations. The state Department of Wildlife Resources repprted 161 weapons violations and 30 drug crimes.
Among the university and college PDs, the busiest were VCU (865 including five kidnappings); Virginia Tech (715), ; UVa (521 including six forcible rapes), JMU (232 including two rapes and 59 drug crimes); and CNU (156 including three forcible rapes and 39 drug crimes).
Bottom line. Fredericksburg is the crime capitol of Virginia. Is there a gang problem? Of course there is. With the massive drug problem, Fredericksburg has a gang problem. So does Spotsylvania County.
Does that impact the Fredericksburg schools? Yes. Whether they acknowledge it or not.
I reported yesterday that the Fredericksburg PD arrest rate is representative, but clearly that does not deter crime. Is it because perpetrators don’t fear prosecution from the progressive prosecutor? Her policies are certainly perp friendly.
Winchester appears to be the in a tie with Fredericksburg as the drug crime capitol because of the work of the state police. Lynchburg and Roanoke follow.
Of the 16 jurisdictions only five of the police departments are accredited by the state.
Accreditation is not a silver bullet to crime suppression, but it does measure professionalism and, as importantly, it signifies interest in professionalism by participating in the program.
Notably, only one of the five police departments with the highest Group A crime rates have signaled their interest.
It’s not the Fredericksburg PD.