Big drop in Hanover crime

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - If you feel safe in Hanover County, you probably are. New statistics show you could be the safest you've ever been in the county in thirty years.

Overall crime dropped five percent last year and that number nearly doubles when you focus on violent crimes. Hanover County hasn't seen low crime levels like this since the 1970's when the population was half what it is now.

The Hanover County Sheriff's Office says the more deputies you see out and about, the more criminals think twice about breaking the law.

"Visibility is one of those things," said Captain Mike Trice. "You want to, as best you can, saturate those areas with law enforcement officers."

Crimes like embezzlement, shoplifting and credit card fraud saw the largest drops but there was a slight spike in drug violations and burglaries.

One thing the Sheriff's Office says has made a big difference has been looking at the security at many local businesses. Sometimes a few minor upgrades can make a big difference.

One example being a meeting at the Mechanicsville Christian Center Thursday. This church hasn't been targeted yet, but church members aren't waiting for something to happen before increasing its security.

Jim McLaughlin routinely visits local groups to talk about security.

"We also like to be proactive with our partnerships to say that, 'hey, these are some things you can do to keep yourself safe and if you have any information, send it to us,'" he said.

The Sheriff's Office says getting reports from the public also goes a long way to cut down on crime, no matter how small the crime may be.

"A criminal that will do a minor theft is likely your criminal that will one day do a major crime," Trice said. "We want to address it while we can."

If you want a deputy to check out the security at your business, the Sheriff's Office offers that program for free.

That five percent overall drop comes out to a total of 150 fewer victims last year than in 2009.

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