Each year the Virginia State Police issues an annual crime analysis breaking down incidents by location and type. The most recent analysis for crimes in 2013 puts a city at the top of the list that doesn’t think it belongs there.
With 42 incidents counted as “Murders and non-negligent manslaughter,” the Virginia State Police report shows Richmond with the most. At the top in “Forcible Rape and other forcible sex offenses” is Norfolk, which also leads in “Aggravated Assault.” The count places Virginia Beach at number one in “Simple Assaults.” With these cities at the top, how is it Roanoke tops the list with more crime per 100-thousand people than any other city in the state? Roanoke City Police Chief Chris Perkins says, in part, it comes down to good police work.
“We’re doing things that may generate more incidents that show up in the state police report but are not used to measure crime in the community like the FBI report. If I wanted to do away with the vice unit, I could take 1,840 crimes right off the top, I could take another 50 prostitution cases or another 244 weapons offenses. I could take all those self-initiated crimes right off the top and I could bring crime way down.”
The only category of crime in which Roanoke is close to the top is a number 2 ranking in “Simple Assault/Intimidation,”
“If I threaten to hurt you that’s an intimidation or if I push you that’s a simple assault. That’s a societal issue that I can have no bearing on.”
The crimes Perkins referred to are part two crimes...
“...which are totally different from the part one crimes the FBI reports. Part one crimes are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson and we are way down in those part one crimes. So, in the end, the measurable offenses we are down significantly.”
The Virginia State Police Annual Crime Analysis is sent to the FBI, modified and incorporated into their annual report. In turn, the FBI cautions against using the statistics for ranking purposes saying, incomplete analysis can create misleading perceptions.