Sheriff's office says violent crimes down, theft up in Hanover

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Hanover County rang in the new year with a decrease in violent crime. With only six robberies and 1 domestic-related homicide, those numbers are good.

What's not so good is a spike in crimes of opportunity.

The sheriff's office dealt with nearly 300 more incidents of crimes such as credit card fraud, burglaries and thefts in 2008 compared to 2007, and the theives seem to be targeting certain areas of the county.

The sheriff's office says areas along or in Atlee Station Road, Mechanicsville, Bell Creek Road, Pole Green Road, Cold Harbor Road saw much of the crime. These are neighborhoods that have a higher density of houses where theives can easily target multple dwellings or vehicles in one night

With the help of citizens, sheriff's office officials believe they can bring the numbers back down in 2009. In 90 percent of these cases, locking a car, garage or house door would have stopped the crime in its track, officials say.

"What we can do is eliminate their ability and their opportunities to commit these crimes," said Lt. Mike Trice of the Hanover County Sheriff's Office. "In a number of cases, just locking a car would have eliminated a theft."

Sheriff's office officials also say one of the easiest ways to fight crimes of opportunity is to repot suspicious behavior to law enforcement authorities.

"No matter how minor, if it's not right in your neighborhood - of you know it doesn't look right - then it's something we want to investigate," Trice said.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.