Roanoke County gets update on flat crime trends, traffic, opioid issues

Police Chief Howard Hall goes over statistics Tuesday

Roanoke County police say crime trends are staying level and the area is a safe place to be. Police Chief Howard Hall updated the Board of Supervisors on the latest statistics during its Tuesday afternoon meeting.

He says robberies are up, but he doesn’t think it’s a pattern. Stolen cars are up slightly but cases of people stealing items from cars are down. Burglaries are down as well.

"When you look at the number of crimes we have compared to other places, we're relatively low," he said.

He said most of those are property crimes.

"We don't have a high number of violent crimes, thankfully, and our officers and our citizens work hard to keep it that way," he said.

Hall says most of the calls the department receives are about suspicious activity and don’t end up involving crime. He says that’s OK. The department encourages people to call in so officers can check out situations.

Roanoke County police said they’ve seen an increase in car crashes at some of the busier intersections. Hall said eight of the top ten crash sites are on Electric Road. Five of those are near Tanglewood Mall.

"The crashes are trending up slightly. We've seen a few more incidents each year for the last few years and that's certainly concerning, which is why traffic enforcement and traffic safety is a priority for us," he said.

He said these are mostly intersections that people from the area should know can be problematic. They have stepped up police patrols throughout their target areas.

Hall also went over numbers that show the county is facing an increase in opioid overdoses, like the rest of southwest Virginia.

Compared to all of 2016, the number of both deadly overdoses and cases where the victims survived have more than doubled through the first 7 1/2 months of this year. He said they’re main goal is to track how the drugs are getting into the area.

"We are primarily from an investigative standpoint on the people who are bringing this poison into this valley," he said.

Hall believes police don't always need to throw people in jail for a possession charge when they have the chance to get help for those people.