Prince William County Crime Rate Decreased Slightly in 2010
A slight decrease has resulted in fewer murders, rapes, robberies, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts.
The overall crime rate for Prince William County in 2010 has slightly declined.
Chief of Police Charlie T. Deane said that in 2009; there was a rate of 19.5 crimes per 1,000 residents in the county. For last year, that measurement is slightly lower, at 19.2 crimes per one thousand residents.
Deane said the overall number of reported property crimes rose less than one percent while the number of reported violent crime fell by just over five percent.
In total, murder, rape, robbery, burglary and motor vehicle theft decreased while aggravated assault and larceny saw small increases.
Deane also noted that nine murders occurred in the county in 2010, of which all have been solved.
The police department has a 63.3 percent closure rate in crimes against persons – including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – and a 17.4 percent closure rate in crimes against property, or burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
“We need to think about several year increments,” said Dean speaking of analyzing crime data. Crime in Prince William County has decreased steadily since a 1996 figure provided by police, in which 37.2 crimes were committed per thousand residents.
The department’s closure rate on violent crimes is significantly higher than the national 2009 statistic, the last national number available, at 47.1 percent.
“We, in this community, are blessed to have such a strong neighborhood watch and citizen’s police academy,” said Deane. “We have very strong support in the neighborhood. The best security in any neighborhood is a good neighbor.”
Reports of Part I Crimes Remained Statistically Consistent, Increasing by 0.1 percent
- Murder: Decreased by 10 percent (from 10 to 9)
- Rape: Decreased by 7 percent (from 57 to 53*)
- Robbery: Decreased by 13.3 percent (from 255 to 221)
- Aggravated Assault: Increased by 3.7 percent (from 216 to 224)
- Burglary: Decreased by 1.3 percent (from 984 to 971)
- Larceny: Increased by 2.1 percent (from 5,634 to 5,752)
- Motor Vehicle Theft: Decreased by 13.2 percent (from 493 to 428)
Rape rate fell, East Coast Rapist case revisited
The number of reported rapes fell seven percent in 2010, from 57 reported cases to 53. In 2008, there were 28 rapes reported.
“17 of the reported rapes actually occurred in the prior year,” said Deane. “It’s not unusual for rapes to be reported some time after they happen or be discovered after arresting someone.”
All the victims in the 2010 rapes were acquainted with the offender, rather than cases in which a stranger on the street has abducted someone, said Deane.
Deane focused on the East Coast Rapist case where three girls were returning to their Dale City home in 2008 when the now-arrested Aaron Thomas attacked them.
“What we know today is that he hid in the area, he ran in those woods and was there for some hours before he got back to his car, parked nearby,” said Deane touching on the case’s historic nature for Prince William County.
“This is truly a “whodunit” case, a stranger rape of the worst kind,” said Deane. “ I reiterate this case to make the point that this really an unusual type rape case for us to deal with.
Dean said that Commonwealth’s Attorney for Prince William County Paul Ebert has informed him that a warrant for Thomas has been sent. “He will be tried on charges in Connecticut before coming here,” said Deane. “There is a process, once he’s convicted there he can be tried here.“
Cracking down on drunk driving
Prince William County arrested over 2,000 drunk drivers in 2010, four of which were underage. Amid the controversy that has been sparked over a tailgate ban at popular music venue Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Deane explained what push the venue received from the county police department.
“I just want to say we have linked a number of deaths to activities in that parking lot. We have done everything we have known to do such as public education, signs in the lot, we’ve arrested, we’ve warned, we have had DUI checkpoints ingress and egress."
Deane said the department has had a high number of DUI arrests leaving Jiffy Lube Live than any other place in the county.
“We encourage them to take firm action to promote traffic safety,” said Deane. “They have taken action, and their decision was to deal with it by eliminating tailgating. We applaud their action and think it is a step in the right direction.”
The bottom line in drunk driving from the department and Deane’s perspective is: if you drive drunk, you will be caught.
Illegal immigration enforcement
In light of the department’s adoption of a mandate that checks the immigration status of persons in physical custody in July 2008, Deane calls the procedure “old news.”
Deane said the department prohibits racial profiling while checking the immigration status but that the mandate is simple and straightforward, but not easy.
“Our officers work day in and day out sorting people’s immigration status,” said Deane. “There’s a lot of work involved but its second nature for our officers today. It’s old news, we’re doing it and we’re doing and we are doing it the best we can.”
In 2010, 1357 suspected illegal aliens were charged with a violation of law. Of that number, 1233 were physically arrested and 124 were released on a summons. Deane said that of all persons arrested or summonsed, 2.4 percent were suspected to lack legal status.
“We did not check the immigration status of everyone we issued a summons to,” said Deane. “Overall the immigration numbers are pretty consistent with the previous years. We put a great deal of effort into making these as accurate as we can.”
Out of the county’s criminal arrests, illegal aliens committed seven percent.