Moving with the tech times, the Virginia State Police recently announced the launching of a new smart phone app—one that will allow citizens to report crime tips directly from their phone. Called “See Something. Send Something,” the police are hoping the app will turn neighbor against neighbor and leave them looking like the good guys. [Read more…]
Virginia Prison Sentences Nearly Doubled
We’ve all heard the phrase “tough on crime,” and many people are aware that the United States is the most incarcerated nation in the world. But a new indication of our love of imprisonment comes in the form of sentence length. The Pew Center on the States released a report this week detailing how prison sentences have changed over the past few decades. What they found is dramatic.
Not only are people going to prison now for offenses they may have only gotten probation for in the past, but the sentences they are serving are far longer. [Read more…]
Violent Crime Down; Drug Offenses Up in VA
Crime statistics from 2011 were released in the annual crime report Crime in Virginia this past week. According to the report, violent crime was down last year, though drug offenses were on the rise.
The report, released in conjunction with the Virginia State Police, says homicides fell to 3.77 per 100,000 population, after being at 4.61 per 100,000 in 2010. Robberies fell 4%.
Violent crime overall was down 6.2% since 2010.
Property offenses also dropped 2.2%. This includes burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts.
Many states and major metropolitan areas have experienced unexplainable drops in crime over the past several years, shattering the long-held belief that crime rates went up in times of economic hardship. Experts can’t explain why this is.
The only crime segment that seemed to rise, according to the report, was drug offenses. In 2008 and 20009, such offenses fell. But in both 2010 and 2011, they rose again. This past year, they climbed 7.1% since the prior year.
Drug offenses, including everything from marijuana possession to heroin distribution, cover a lot of areas. And because drug problems affect nearly all segments of the population, no one is exempt from possible arrest.
Interestingly, the boom in prescription drug use has led to an increase in heroin usage, even among suburban and rural youth. In the past, when heroin was popular, it was mainly seen in urban settings. But the use of prescription opiates has driven people from the suburbs to seek out the far cheaper and more potential alternative.
The Crime in Virginia report is issued annually by the Virginia State Police. It is designed to provide a snapshot of crime across the state, including the hours at which crimes are committed, who the victims are, and offender characteristics. Much of this information will be shared with the federal government in their annual reports as well.
So what does all of this mean for the person accused of a crime? Not a whole lot. Prosecutors will still go after the “bad guy” with zeal, and judges will still continue to penalize those adjudicated guilty with a heavy hand.
If you are accused of a criminal offense, you need someone working on your behalf in this system where it can seem like everyone is against you. Contact us today for a free consultation and to see how we might be able to help.