HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Hampton Roads saw an 18% increase in murder rates from 2019 to 2020.
News 3 requested the information from the Medical Examiner's Office which included statistics from Accomack, Chesapeake, Franklin City, Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, James City County, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Southampton, Suffolk, Surry, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and York County, according to the Medical Examiners Office.
“I’m concerned and I think everybody should be concerned because murder rates affect everything, they affect our economy, it affects our well-being and affects our stress level,” said Richard James, a crime analyst and Former Norfolk Detective.
While people were struggling to deal with COVID-19 overall crime went down in several area cities, but murder rates went up in many areas.
The Portsmouth Interim Police Chief Scott Burke said their city saw a 133% increase.
In a recent State of the Department address, he said they were dividing the city into different districts to focus on crime. He also said they are looking to bring civic, government and businesses together to unite the community.
“We all have to have a partnership, take ownership and become stakeholders and these issues, working together with these nontraditional partnerships is a big step and large initiative,” said Burke.
In 2019 there was a total of 160 murders and in 2020 was a total of 185 in 17 different cities and counties around Hampton Roads, according to the Medical Examiner's Office.
Below is data for the number of homicides that occurred in Hampton Roads in 2020 and 2019, according to the Medical Examiner's Office:
|Number of Homicides that Occurred in Hampton Roads* by Month and Year of Death, 2019-2020**|
|Month of Death||2019||2020**|
They said the numbers are still preliminary as they are waiting for reports to come back.
Suffolk and Virginia Beach saw a decrease in the murder rate, but Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton and Chesapeake saw increases. Newport News stayed about the same.
James said people need to help authorities solve cases, report crimes and trust their instinct to keep safe.