The Alexandria Police Department released its 2020 report of Part I crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery and other crimes against people or personal property, on Tuesday, revealing a 19.14% in–crease from 2019.
The number of Part I crimes rose from 2,743 incidents in 2019 to 3,268 in 2020, according to the report. Part I violent crimes accounted for 9.48% of the city’s overall Part I crimes, an increase from 3.33% in 2019.
According to the report, the significant increase in Part I crime last year is mainly due to a sharp rise in the number of larcenies and auto thefts. The amount of larceny cases increased 18.16% between 2019 and 2020 from 2,093 cases in 2019 to 2,473 cases in 2020. The number of auto theft incidents rose sharply by 54.08%, from 233 in 2019 to 359 in 2020.
The police department attributes the increase in stolen vehicles to owners leaving their vehicles “un–attended for extended periods of time during the COVID-19 pandemic,” ac–cording to a news release. The majority of vehicle thefts that occurred last year involved unlocked vehicles.
APD also attributed the rise in burglaries, which increased from 117 in 2019 to 126 in 2020, to the pandemic. While residential burglaries decreased significantly in 2020, likely due to the amount of time people were spending at home, commercial burglaries jumped from 40 to 59 incidents, a 47.5% increase, according to the report.
The number of aggravated assaults increased last year from 196 cases in 2019 to 208 cases in 2020, while there were three homicides in 2020 compared to two in 2019.
Meanwhile, the number of reported rapes decreased by 40% from 20 in 2019 to 12 in 2020. However, APD and Alexandria’s Sexual Assault center expressed concern that rape and domestic violence cases may not have been reported at a time when victims had to stay at home where the incidents occurred, according to the release.