New figures released show the population in Prince William County is on the rise and crime is falling. For an expanding northern Virginia community, the news is promising and the numbers show that police and residents have committed to safety.
More than 413,000 people now make up Prince William County, and even with a growing population, the crime rate is falling.
"I think it has to do with more people being invested and engaged in their community," says Chief Steve Hudson of Prince William County Police.
Police released the county's 2012 crime report Tuesday. Crime dropped nearly 1.5 percent from the year before, but violent crime went up by 9 percent.
"A large percent of the 9-percent increase in violent crimes was attributable to rape cases that were reported in2012, but actually occurred in previous years," Chief Hudson says.
There were two murders, but they were not random. Chief Hudson says violent crime remains an area of concern, including the number of pedestrian-involved traffic fatalities.
"If I'm not mistaken, from about two in 2011 to a total of 11 in 2012, and of
He says he hopes to address the issue with his department and county leaders through improved street designs, plus public outreach and education. He's optimistic for the months ahead with ongoing support from the Board of Supervisors.
"For a couple of years we did not receive additional staff, but this year, especially for 2014, we're receiving a number," Hudson says.
The county will see a boost of 29 new position beginning July 1.
Looking ahead, Chief Hudson says with additional help in staffing, his officers can be more proactive and spend more time patrolling, in addition to providing enforcement.