February 16, 2016 News & Features » Cover Story


The Richmond Crime Almanac 

A snapshot of criminal activity, clearance rates and neighborhood trends in 2015.

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Crime in Richmond rose a smidgen of 1 percent in 2015. Most of that can be attributed to an increase in car thefts.

But the good news, according to Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Police Chief Alfred Durham, is that violent crime continues to slide.

It’s down 30 percent since 2009 and at its lowest rate in 45 years, Mayor Jones noted in his State of the City address last month. “Make no mistake about it,” he said — “if you lived in Richmond in the 1990s, you know how important this is.”

There were 39 homicides in 2015 compared with 43 the year before. Also, as of last month, investigations of most of the killings had been closed.

The trend seems heartening compared with the ’90s, when Richmond had one of the highest murder rates in the country.

When you get down to the more granular level of particular neighborhoods, the prevalence of murder, rape, robbery and assault grows dramatically in some public housing projects and areas south of the James River. And the Fan remains a hotspot for certain types of trouble.

For nonviolent crimes such as prostitution and drugs, arrests heighten in specific areas, such as strip mall sections of Jefferson Davis Highway south of town. For car thefts and burglary, look to the trendy neighborhoods.

For the third year, Style has collected data from the Richmond Police Department and its publicly available database in an effort to present a snapshot of crime in the area, presenting it in ways that inform readers about changes underway.

With the 2016 crime almanac, we also launch our online homicide database in an effort to shed light on the victims and investigations that unfold in 2016. It’s available at here. There are countless stories behind the impersonal numbers on the following pages, and we will work to explore them in the year to come. — Peter Galuszka

We're cataloging Richmond's homicides in 2016 here.

Click any neighborhood for complete stats.

Methodology and notes: These infographics are based on statistics and categories published by the Richmond Police Department. Crime rates are measured using neighborhood population estimates, which are based on 2010 U.S. Census data.

While crime rates are a useful and widely used tool to normalize crime data across areas with varied populations, they fail to take into account commercial activity in areas that otherwise have very small populations — for example, the city center, where relatively few people live but many travel and work every day.

Every area with a crime rate higher than 25 incidents per 100 residents in Richmond is in an area with commercial activity that draws large numbers of residents from beyond the neighborhood.

The data also includes only crimes reported to the Richmond Police Department. It doesn’t include offenses reported to Virginia Commonwealth University police or other departments, for example, which don’t make crime data available in comparable formats.

The categories listed also don’t conform to the FBI’s uniform crime reporting standard and shouldn’t be used to compare crime in Richmond to other localities.

It’s also important to note that data from year to year can be fluid. Statistics that may be reported in one year eventually could change as investigations unfold and incidents are re-categorized.



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