(Updated at 4:30 p.m. on June 9) Alexandria Police say that more than half of the crime increases in ALXnow’s recent report are attributable to larcenies from vehicles during the pandemic and 36 incidents at the Target store at 3101 Richmond Highway.
“The 80% increase in larcenies at Target year-to-date (45 in 2019 vs. 81 in 2020) is because the store significantly increased their loss prevention staff in January 2020,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “This has helped identify more shoplifters, but it does not necessarily represent an increase in shoplifting.
Ballantine said the vehicle larcenies are primarily due to “owners leaving vehicles unattended for long periods of time while at home during the pandemic.”
He added that larcenies from buildings are down 19.2% year-to-date (167 in 2019, 135 in 2020). During the pandemic period alone (March to present), they are down 18.3% year-to-date (93 in 2019, 76 in 2020).
Alexandria has experienced a double-digit percentage increase in crime over last year, according to data provided by the Alexandria Police Department to ALXnow.
While there have been no murders this year and aggravated assaults, rapes and robberies are down, there are noted increases in burglaries, larcenies and stolen vehicles.
Police are currently investigating a number of shooting incidents, including the March 31 shooting of a 17-year-old in what is believed to be a targeted attack, as well as a number of shots fired incidents.
As of June 6, there were 914 larcenies in the city, an increase of 119 incidents, or 15%, since last year. There were also 109 stolen vehicles, a 15% increase; and 46 burglaries, which is a 25% increase over last year.
While auto thefts increased this year, there were 18 vehicle thefts reported last month, which is a decrease from April, which saw 26 stolen vehicles, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.
Among the vehicles stolen between March 27 and April 26 were eight reported incidents of stolen mopeds or scooter vehicles in Alexandria, all of which remain under investigation, Ballantine said.
“All of these incidents occurred on a public highway, street, sidewalk or open access parking lots for apartment complexes,” police said in a search warrant affidavit.
Staff photo by James Cullum