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Lynchburg police see decrease in violent crime during COVID-19 outbreak

Police also see slight increase in domestic incidents

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Police departments across the nation are seeing a decrease in crime while more people are staying inside because of the pandemic.

In Lynchburg, officers say crimes in the Hill City have dropped drastically.

The department’s public information officer says during the pandemic they’ve seen calls for service drop 11-13% compared to March 2019.

View a complete breakdown below comparing 2019 calls for service to 2020 calls.

For violent crime offenses like aggravated assaults, drug-related crime and car thefts, officers reported more than 300 offenses last year. Data currently shows just over 150 offenses for March 2020.

The department says this shows people are taking the governor’s stay-at-home order seriously.

But with low numbers in some areas, calls for domestic incidents are creeping up with 51 in March and 46 during the same time last year.

"It also allows us to focus on all those other crimes that have gone up, domestic calls and things like that, to make sure that everyone is safe,” said Carrie Dungan, community relations coordinator.

The department says it works with victim advocate groups to help victims of domestic violence.

According to police, they had 366 vehicle stops last month compared to 527 reported in March 2019.

Police said they have not had to enforce 10 person gathering limit in the city, and are advised to use discretion.

“Our officers always have the discretion for certain incidents to issue a summons as opposed to taking someone to jail. So they’re balancing that and we’ve asked them to continue to do that discretion,” Dungan said.