Crime rate a mixed bag in 2013

Crime rate a mixed bag in 2013

By Erich Wagner (File photo)

While Alexandria police continued to see a dip in some of the city’s most serious crimes in 2013, authorities saw the rates of other violent offenses creep up from historic lows witnessed in 2012.

After celebrating the first year without a homicide since 1970 two years ago, the city reported five homicides in 2013 as investigators dealt with a string of high-profile killings.

Among the homicide victims in 2013 were 82-year-old nursing home patient Edward Heitz, Elmer Roehrs, 94, Julian Dawkins, 20, Bradley Bostick, 40, and transportation planner Ron Kirby. No charges were filed in Heitz’s death and the Kirby and Bostick cases remain unsolved.

In February 2013, police shot and killed resident Taft Sellers after an armed confrontation on Duke Street. But since the incident was deemed justified and the officers cleared of wrongdoing after internal and external investigations, it was removed from the homicide tally per FBI crime statistic rules.

Police saw an increase in rapes — from 10 in 2012 to 14 last year — as well as a 19 percent increase in the number of aggravated assaults: 114 in 2013 compared with 96 two years ago.

Officials did see bright spots in the annual crime stats, which were released last month. Robberies decreased by nearly 17 percent, from 138 incidents in 2012 to 115 last year. Authorities also saw double-digit declines in auto thefts — 277 last year compared with 320 in 2012.

“Although overall Part 1 crime increased slightly in 2013, continued reductions were achieved in three of the seven … crime categories [that] are noteworthy,” said Police Chief Earl Cook in a statement. “We remain committed to keeping crime low and maintaining a safe community.”

Two categories remained virtually flat in 2013. The number of burglaries decreased from 252 in 2012 to 251 last year, while larcenies increased by three percent — from 2,467 in 2012 to 2,546 in 2013.