VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The crime rate in Virginia Beach has decreased over the past five years said Police Chief James Cervera as he briefed city council members Tuesday. The numbers from 2015 to 2016 are up 10 percent, but a five-year change shows a decrease.
Violent crimes have decreased nearly 14 percent overall from 2012. The number of forcible rapes has gone up in the past year, but that was the only increase. The number of forcible rapes has gone up 7.1 percent the past five years. But over a five-year change, robberies have decreased 17.52 percent and aggravated assault is down 18.1 percent. In 2012 there were 21 homicides and that number was the same in 2016.
Property crimes have decreased 17.8 percent overall over five years with decreases in each crime type. Over five years, burglaries decreased more than 46 percent and arson more than 41 percent. They've also decreased from 2015 to 2016.
"Police have gotten better in what we do and how we do it," said Chief Cervera about the decrease. "I think society has gotten better in what they do. A lot of our success comes from the fact that our citizens in our city do no put up with certain amounts of crime.”
An astounding number came when Chief Cervera discussed the use of firearms. Not a single gun was fired at another person from an officer in the year 2016. Chief Cervera said that's very unusual and he credits his officers and how they have been retrained for that.
"The officers are very disciplined when it comes to deescalating a situation and not using excessive amounts of force. And then we have great supervision and we have great command supervision. You put all that together and you get those numbers," said Chief Cervera.
Looking forward, Chief Cervera said the police department will start engaging more in community policing projects to help reduce the crime rate thanks to additional resources from the city.