Police Release Crime Report; Most Cars Stolen From Homes

BRISTOL, Virginia - The Virginia State Police released its annual crime analysis report. The yearly report on local and statewide crime gives precise rates and occurrences of crimes committed in the Commonwealth.

As far as serious offense, the number of violent crimes including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assaulted increased by 2 percent between 2010 and 2011. According to the report, less serious offenses, including trespassing, disorderly conduct, bad checks and liquor law violations decreased by 1.9 percent last year. It stated, overall, the number of arrests in Virginia decreased by 1.2 percent.

The number of motor vehicle thefts decreased 7.5 percent. In 2011, a total of 9,626 vehicles were reported stolen. The top three most common places included 2,015 from highways, roads and alleys; 2,573 from parking lots and garages; and 3,625, nearly 40% of all motor vehicle thefts, were from homes/residences.

First Sergeant M.R. Willis said parking your car at home can give you a false sense of security. "A lot of people leave their keys in them. They leave windows down, even over night, because they think this is my neighborhood, this is a safe place to be,? he said.

However, Willis said it?s not likely a total stranger is going to steal your car from your driveway. It?s more likely it is someone from your neighborhood or someone you know. "It's somebody that usually knows your patterns. A lot of times it?s friends or family that knows what they're looking for. They're out to specifically get your vehicle,? Willis said.

The number of thefts increases as the temperatures do, according to Willis and the report. During the spring and summer, more people leave their cars out and have their windows open. In August 2011, 973 motor vehicles were stolen during that month.

Bristol, Virginia resident, Larry Huggins, said car theft is a crime of opportunity. If the opportunity is there, criminals will take advantage of it. "If you don't lock it up, you're asking for it to get stolen. If you leave the keys in it, you're asking to get it stolen," Huggins said.

According to the report, 55.6% of stolen motor vehicles were recovered last year. Willisa said most of the time they are found abandoned. If they aren?t found, he said they?ve usually been stripped for their parts and sold.

The full report is available at the Virginia State Police website at under ?Forms and Publications.?

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