Jan 26, 2023 - News

Richmond's murder rate drops while counties see rise

Homicides in the Richmond Area
Data: Axios Research; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

The number of homicides in Richmond plummeted in 2022.

Why it matters: It's a welcome reversal after a nationwide increase in murders that coincided with the beginning of the pandemic.

By the numbers: Homicides in Richmond dropped from 90 in 2021 — the highest number in nearly two decades — to 57 in 2022.

  • Meanwhile, violent crime overall was flat.

👀 Zoom out: While numbers were down in the city, Chesterfield and Henrico counties each reported record homicides, according to figures provided by those agencies and FBI statistics.

  • Chesterfield saw homicides tick up from 12 to 18.
  • And Henrico County reported an increase from 25 to 30.

Of note: The rate of homicides per capita remains significantly higher in the city.

What they're saying: Acting police chief Rick Edwards credited the city's drop to a midyear shift in strategy to focus patrols on gun violence hotspots identified by the department's analysis team.

  • “We were on track to have another really bad year,” he said during a crime briefing Wednesday. “So what we wanted to do was look at those data points.”

Yes, but: The number of thefts and burglaries rose all over the region.

Edwards attributed a 22% increase in property crimes in Richmond almost entirely to thefts from motor vehicles.

  • He said that includes a concerning jump in the number of firearms stolen from vehicles, which he said increased from 413 in 2021 to 714 last year.

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