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Rising crime rate leveling off in Fairfax County

After two straight years of increases, the crime rate in Fairfax County may be leveling off, according to statistics released today that show a 1.7 percent decrease through the first nine months of 2009.

The number of serious crimes (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft) declined steadily through the first part of the decade, then rose in 2007 and 2008, including a nearly 10 percent jump last year, according to the Fairfax police.

The increases were driven largely by big increases in larcenies, which police attributed in part to more thefts of electronics and GPS units from cars. Of the 14,700 serious crimes committed in Fairfax in 2008, nearly 12,000 were larcenies, an all-time high for the county.

But at the same time, violent crime has been dropping steadily. The numbers of murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults is down more than 12 percent in the first three quarters of this year, the statistics show. That continues a trend -- violent crime also declined nearly 9 percent from 2007 to 2008.

The violent crime number has been reduced by a big decrease in robberies, which hit a record high of nearly 600 in 2007. Last year, the total number of robberies was 450. This year, through nine months, the total is 291.

The number of homicides in Fairfax is also down. Last year, through nine months, there were 13. This year there were 10. In the final quarter of last year, nine slayings occurred, including the unsolved triple homicide in Ravensworth Farm, sending the county to a total of 22, its highest total since there were 25 in 1990.

--Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  November 24, 2009; 4:08 PM ET
Categories:  Crime Statistics , Fairfax , Tom Jackman  
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