VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Police have released crime statistics for 2022, highlighting how increased staffing and new technology have helped the department.

Police Chief Paul Neudigate presented the detailed 2022 crime statistics to the City Council during Tuesday’s meeting. The report presented data on crime categories including violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as property crimes like burglary, motor vehicle theft, theft from motor vehicle, and all other larcenies.

Neudigate said in many cases of car thefts people leave key fobs in vehicles.

Read the full 2022 crime data for Virginia Beach here.

Additionally, the report provided an update on the department’s sworn staffing vacancy rate and the technology enhancements that were initiated in 2022.

According to the report, of the 8,941 Part 1 crimes that occurred in 2022, only 5.7% were violent crimes, which amounted to just 510 incidents. The report also highlighted that violent crimes decreased by 12.4% compared to 2021 and 20.7% compared to 2018. Aggravated assault specifically decreased by 25.2% compared to 2021, while the total number of shooting victims decreased by 14.7% from 75 in 2021 to 64 in 2022.

“We want to be that comfort to the community that every time you hear gunfire whether you call it in or not and we do want them to call it in, but if for some reason they don’t we are going to respond, we are going to be visible we are going to try to identify offenders,” said Neudigate.

He also said when officers are investigating gun crimes, police will leave door hangers on homes, when the owner is not home. The door hangers have information to let neighbors know there was gun fire in the area, and how neighbors can report any information to police.

In 2022, the VBPD seized or came in possession of 1,654 firearms, which is an increase of 32.2% from the previous year.

“It’s a different task to make sure that we don’t infringe upon someone’s right to lawfully and legally carry a firearm and identify and impact those that shouldn’t have them in their possession,” said Neudigate.

The report also showed that of the 23 homicides that occurred in Virginia Beach in 2022, 18, or 78.3%, have been cleared. VBPD say homicide detectives are actively pursuing leads and witnesses on the remaining five cases.

The current homicide clearance rate for 2022 is superior to the national average of 54% reported by the FBI in 2020.

Virginia Beach was noted for having the lowest homicide rate overall and per 100,000 residents when compared to other cities in the United States of similar size and population. Chief Neudigate attributed these positive trends to the technological enhancements the department has invested in over the past two years, which have enhanced the enforcement and investigative capabilities of the officers, improved evidentiary outcomes, and enhanced officer safety.

“The City has invested in technology to enhance our officer’s enforcement and investigative capabilities, improving evidentiary outcomes and enhancing officer safety,” said Neudigate. “These investments are a testament to our commitment to community-oriented policing and data-driven practices. I’m excited to see how these crime trends evolve in the future as our analytic capabilities and resources grow.”

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