By Derrick Perkins
As expected, local law enforcement officials announced a significant drop in most serious crimes last year, the lowest on record since 1966.
Instances of murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft all fell in 2012 though the city did see an increase in robberies. The biggest drop came in larcenies, which decreased from 2,666 cases in 2011 to 2,467 last year – a difference of 199 reported incidents.
Burglary and auto theft also declined significantly, from 308 and 374 to 96 and 320, respectively. Overall, serious crimes fell by 9.1 percent in 2012, officials said.
“The reductions in crime and continued improvements to the quality of life in our neighborhoods are a direct result of the quality, hard work and dedication of our sworn, civilian and volunteer staff,” said Chief Earl Cook in a statement. “Additionally, our strong partnerships with the community, Commonwealth’s Attorney Office and other city agencies play an integral part of the successful reduction in crime. We remain committed to keeping crime low and maintaining a safe and vibrant community.”
Officials hinted at a significant drop in the crime rate several months, when they marked 2012 as the first murder free year since 1970.
But a little more than a month after officials celebrated the milestone, Alexandria suffered a string of high profile cases. On February 13, police listed the death of Elmer Roehrs as suspicious, eventually declaring it a homicide. Days later, officers shot city resident Taft Sellers during an armed confrontation on Duke Street.
And before February’s end, officer Peter Laboy was flown to a Washington hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the head during a motor vehicle stop in south Old Town. Laboy continues to recuperate from his injuries.