Crime continues to be down in Prince William County last year, following a 15 year trend, authorities said.
Police released their 2011 crime statistics Tuesday in a press conference at the McCoart administration building. In it, police Chief Charlie T. Deane said violent crime dropped 20.7 percent.
Their findings revealed murders went down 66.6 percent to three, with an additional negligent manslaughter, compared to nine murders in 2010 and 16 in 2002. Deane said none of the reported 2011 murders were at random.
Rapes decreased by seven to 46, or 13.2 percent. Of them, police said ten were reported in 2011 but occurred in 2010. Robberies and aggravated assaults went down 21.7 percent and 19.6 percent, respectively, the report stated.
Property crimes also dropped.
Burglaries went down 5.8 percent to 915. Larcenies tanked 5.4 percent to 5,440, and vehicle thefts lowered 9.1 percent to 389, police said.
Overall, authorities said the county’s Part I crime rate, which accounts for crimes against persons and property, decreased 6.7 percent in 2011.
Police announced a 68.7 percent closure rate, up 5.4 percent, compared to the national average of 47.2 percent in 2010.
But arrests are up.
Police netted 12,819 adult and 1,467 juvenile arrests last year, up 89.7 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.
Police issued 2,327 DUI charges last year, 263 more than in 2010. There were 2,016 total assault arrests, 18 more than in 2010. There were 1,382 larceny charges, up 139 from last year. Drug possession charges fell 63 to 1,239, according to police.
Police noted the figures only focused on the total charges issued, not the amount of individuals arrested.
Part I arrests involving suspected illegal aliens accounted for 4.9 percent or 94, police said. The findings stated that 10.5 percent of rapes – 4 total – were from people suspected to lack legal status.
Illegal aliens accounted for 14.5 percent of all public drunkenness charges, or 152, while they accounted for 10.5 percent of all DUIs, or 245, the report stated.
Police revealed the most dangerous intersection for crashes and tickets in the eastern end of the county is Prince William Parkway at Minnieville Road near Dale City. There, officers saw a 175 percent rise in summonses to 677 and a 31 percent drop in crashes to 22.
But on the western end, Va. 15’s intersection with Va. 55 in Haymarket was the most hazardous, with a 325 percent increase of summonses to 34 and a 60 percent decrease in crashes to 6.
Police consider Hoadly Road as their division of the eastern and western ends of Prince William.
Traffic crashes went up 2.2 percent to 4,291, with a drop of 38.9 percent for fatal crashes, or 11.
Police wrote 43,278 tickets last year, a 4.4 percent hike. Of the tickets, the most were for speeding at 15,427, a drop of 4.9 percent from 2010. Seatbelt violations dropped 11.4 percent to 1,100, according to the report.
The population in Prince William soared by 11,162 to 409,345 last year, the report stated. Deane said the concurrent drop in crime was an “interesting trend,” but said it reflects what he has seen elsewhere in the country. He also cited what he called trust and a positive dialogue between police and residents as a factor in lowered crime.
Police debuted an online reporting system for non-emergency crimes in November, but when asked for its impact on the crime statistics, Deane said he was unable to quantify its exact results, citing its recent deployment. He said the system has been positive overall.
Even with the overall drop in crimes, Deane warned both police and residents to not become complacent.
“This won’t go down forever,” he said of the crime rate. “We have to always be prepared to deal with the complex world we live in.”