Whatever your view of the truthfulness of statistics, particularly as they pertain to crime, here’s a big one to chew on: In 2011, reported crime in Fairfax County was by far the lowest in the county’s history, dating back to 1970, the earliest that crime stats in Fairfax are available.
For the Big Seven — murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and autho theft — the grand totalreported in Fairfax was 16,209. In 42 years, that number has never been below 17,000. The previous low was 17,108 in 2006. In addition, the total number of burglaries reported in 2011 was by far an all-time low: 1,021, in a county of 1.1 million. In the 1970s, the total was 5,000 per year, but Fairfax has steadily decreased it to this incredibly low figure, even as the population has steadily increased, making Fairfax’s crime per capita statistics even better..
It was the third straight year of declines for Fairfax, this time a 7.1 percent drop. Robberies increased slightly, but larcenies, which at 13,000+ make up the largest proportion of the Big Seven (called Part I crimes by the FBI), dropped by 6.5 percent. Auto theft also hit an all-time low, 881. I am hoping for more insights on all this from Fairfax police commanders later this week.
Meanwhile, two last things to chew on, statistically speaking: One, Fairfax switched from Uniform Crime Reporting to the National Incident-Based Reporting System several years ago. But that requires an agency to report all crimes in an incident, not just the most serious one under the UCR system, so the numbers theoretically should have gone up, not down. And two, Fairfax in 2010 switched to new I/LEADS software for all of its crime reports, ticket writing, statistical tracking, everything. But could that make thousands of crimes disappear? Let’s hope not. Here are the numbers: