Low Crime Rates in NOVA

By Shelby Greene.

Believe it or not, there are advantages to living in Loudoun County that don’t include the beautiful mountain views or the bragging rights of being one of the richest counties in America. Loudoun County is also quite peaceful as far as crime goes.

In fact, Virginia as a whole has been on the lower end of national crime rates for over a decade. According to Loudoun.gov, in 2012 Virginia held the fourth lowest violent crime rate and the eighth lowest property crime rate in the United States. The positive trend continues as crime in Virginia continues to decrease. Loudoun County’s sheriff’s department statistics show that overall crime rate in the county decreased by 9% between 2012 and 2013. During this same time period, Western Loudoun’s crime rate decreased 6%. Virginians must be doing something right, but what?

Several factors affect crime statistics. According to Loudoun.gov, these include general behavioral trends, economic stress, narcotics prevalence and law enforcement severity.

Loudoun County’s wealth provides its students with an excellent education. Out of 12 high schools in the county, four received bronze, silver, or gold medals in U.S. news’ school rankings. This noteworthy education may account for positive behavioral trends that lower crime rates. According to ASCD, 50-70% of people’s behavior is attributed to the environment around them. If schools are wealthier, they most likely have more abundant resources such as counselors and resource officers to help students make positive decisions. Schools with more funding might also spend money on programs that encourage positive behavior, like PBIS at Woodgrove. Therefore, if students have positive behavior implemented at the school age they may be more likely to make better decisions later; because according to Virginia state police, the majority of crimes committed in 2012 were committed by persons ages 18-35.

Also while narcotics have increased in popularity in our area, there were only 27 recorded narcotics related crimes in a six month period, compared to 103 DUI’s in the same period during 2013.

And though, according to Loudoun.gov, the Virginia State Police investigates crimes and participates in government efforts against narcotics, Loudoun’s part II crimes (which include narcotics) were much higher than Loudoun’s part I crimes (which include crimes like theft) in 2012-2013.

Because of Loudoun County’s acknowledged wealth, it might be thought that there is no significant economic stress in our area. However, according to the county sheriff’s statistics, larceny and burglary are the county’s two highest crime categories.

In terms of police severity, it appears our law enforcement packs a punch. Virginia State Police records show, that in the year of 2012, Virginia State troopers dedicated 3,338 man-hours to safety seminars and crime prevention programs and responded to about 1.15 million incidents.

Sophomore Kristen Matthews lives in Round Hill, Virginia and had this to say about living in the area, “It’s safe and the community has really nice people that are always there to help you if you need it.”

Though Western Loudoun only accounts for 10% of Loudoun’s crime, Woodgrove students can still play a role in keeping Loudoun County’s crime low. The Global Youth Justice states that, like in Loudoun, the most popular teen crimes are theft and larceny. Teens do have an effect on crime and if they continue to have good resources and to be educated on crime, Loudoun’s crime rates will continue in the direction they should: down.