ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke has a below-average crime rate, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's latest report, but Mayor Sherman Lea says the city will not ease up its vigilance toward criminals.
"We're not going to sit back and say, 'Oh, that just happened,'" said Lea. "We're going to do what we can to make sure people understand there are other alternatives to gun violence."
The FBI's report says Roanoke's 2018 violent crime rate, which measures murders, rapes, robberies and assaults, is 235.2 crimes per 100,000 residents. The national rate, as measured by the FBI, is 368 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
Roanoke's violent crime rate is on par with Richmond and Hartford, Connecticut. Lea says the violent crime rate does not matter if homicides keep occurring within the Star City.
"We don't want our citizens to get immune to this, to expect this," said Lea. "It's a tragedy."
Lynchburg and Blacksburg both had lower violent crime rates than Roanoke. Lynchburg measured in at 201.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people, while Blacksburg's per capita rate was slightly lower at 200.1. However, Blacksburg's rape rate of 74.7 per 100,000 people is as much as Roanoke's and Lynchburg's rate combined.
The violent crime rates for Roanoke, Blacksburg and Lynchburg are much lower than the most violent cities. Those cities, which include Detroit; Memphis, Tennessee; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, have violent crime rates of more than 1,000 crimes per 100,000 people.
You can find the FBI's full report at this link.