Alexandria experienced a nearly 30% increase in Part 1 crime in 2023, and Mayor Justin Wilson says new initiatives will help stem the flow.
Part 1 crimes, or crimes against people, include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. There were 4,410 total Part I incidents in 2023, an increase of 31% over the 3,361 incidents reported in 2022, according to the Alexandria Police Department Crime Dashboard.
Aggravated assaults are up 50%, with 258 incidents reported in 2023. Aggravated assaults jumped nearly 30%, robberies are up 31%, larcenies are up 30% and auto thefts rose 53%.
In his monthly newsletter, Wilson said that the increase in violent crime, in particular, is unacceptable.
“While the year ended with positive trendlines in several areas, the overall increase for 2023, and particularly the increase in violent crime, is unacceptable,” Wilson wrote. “Protecting the safety of our community is the most important obligation of local government. If our residents are not safe, nothing else matters.”
Last year, APD put mobile camera units in high crime areas after a number of shooting incidents in the city’s Braddock neighborhood. APD also told city council that it would combat the crime surge by increasing foot patrols.
Wilson’s comments follow the recent announcement that Police Chief Don Hayes is retiring this month and that the city will be conducting a search for his replacement.
Not all the Part 1 numbers increased, as there were four homicides in 2023, versus six homicides in 2022, and four rape incidents in 2023, down from eight rape incidents in 2022.
According to Wilson:
The underlying causes of the increases in violence (not just in Alexandria, but around the region and our nation) are so varied, that there is no single answer to this issue. However, the City is approaching this uptick in violence using multiple approaches:
- Restoring Police Staffing/Reducing Attrition
- Expanding “upstream” investments (family supports, mental/behavioral health, housing, re-entry programs, etc) proven to reduce violence
- Expanding community policing
- Continue advocacy for new laws in Washington and Richmond to slow the flow of dangerous firearms into our community
In recent budget decisions, we have included new funding for investigatory capacity focused on those responsible for homicides, felony sex offenses and crimes driven by weapons. We have continued to see mental health and behavioral health incidents driving emergency response. The City’s ACORP program, a co-response program pairing a sworn police officer with a mental health practitioner, has seen considerable success. The City Council chose to build on the success of this effort by expanding ACORP by adding two new ACORP pairs, for a total of 3.
The City has hired two of the largest classes of new police officers entering the Academy. As those officers conclude their training, we will make large progress on some of the staffing challenges the Police Department has experienced for the past few years.
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