In brief: Crime report, coach gets caught, dead body bamboozle and more

In brief: Crime report, coach gets caught, dead body bamboozle and more

It’s about crime

The Albemarle County Police Department released its annual crime report for 2017 in June, and while we already published some of the most striking statistics, here’s what else caught our eye.

Between the years of 2016 and 2017, crimes rates increased in all but one category. The largest increases were in homicide and forcible rape, whose rates increased by a whopping 500 percent and 93 percent, respectively. The exception was robbery, which decreased by more than 50 percent.

  • 1,805 larcenies, 1.4 percent increase
  • 1,305 property crimes, 2.3 percent increase
  • 146 breaking and enterings, 0.7 percent increase
  • 74 stolen motor vehicles, 21.3 percent increase
  • 37 aggravated assaults, 9 percent increase
  • 27 forcible rapes, 93 percent increase
  • 10 robberies, 52 percent decrease
  • 6 homicides, 500 percent increase

Disorderly conduct was the most common call for service.

  • Disorderly Conduct: 1,223 calls
  • Mental Health: 575 calls
  • Noise Complaint: 560 calls
  • Drug Offenses: 529 calls
  • Trespassing: 427 calls
  • Vandalism: 403 calls
  • Domestic Assault: 321 calls
  • Shots Fired: 273 calls
  • DUI: 174 calls
  • DIP: 163 calls
  • Littering: 12 calls

The report’s demographic breakdown found that whites make up two-thirds of the arrests in the county.

  • White: 66.2 percent
  • Black: 32.3 percent
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 0.8 percent
  • Unknown: 0.7 percent
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native: 0.1 percent

Suicide stats

The county crime report included a new section for mental health. In 2017, Albemarle County Police received 575 mental-health-related calls, a 7 percent increase from the previous year. In 2015, there was a record 24 percent increase from the previous year. Deaths by suicide have decreased slightly over the past half-decade.


  • Attempted: 18
  • Completed: 12


  • Attempted: 17
  • Completed: 13


  • Attempted: 10
  • Completed: 15


  • Attempted: 18
  • Completed: 6


  • Attempted: 11
  • Completed: 11

We’ve been duped

A human figure wrapped in cloth, tightly bound at the neck and feet and dumped at the McIntire Recycling Center over the weekend gave recyclers a scare—until police responded to the scene and cut the cloth to reveal a mannequin. Police are still investigating the body bamboozle.

WillowTree makes moves

Governor Ralph Northam dropped by August 27 to announce that WillowTree will invest approximately $20 million in an expansion and relocation to the old Woolen Mills factory, which will create more than 200 jobs. The new location will allow the 276-employee company to grow to 500, and the move is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Coach gets caught

A Monticello High School assistant football and girls’ basketball coach has been placed on administrative leave following his August 24 arrest for allegedly sending “inappropriate electronic communications” to a juvenile. George “Trae” Payne III is also a teacher’s aide at the school.


Change of venue

Attorneys for James Fields say he won’t be able to get a fair trial this November in the same town where he allegedly rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-racist activists, killing one of them and injuring many. They’ve asked to move his three-week, first-degree murder trial elsewhere, or bring in out-of-town jurors. A judge is expected to rule on the motion August 30.

Like a high school paper

Liberty University now requires its student newspaper, the Liberty Champion, to get approval from two to three administrators before publishing a story. Bruce Kirk, the school’s communications dean, told student reporters their job was to protect Liberty’s reputation and image, according to a story in the World magazine.

Heaphy’s new job

Tim Heaphy. Photo by Eze Amos

Former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy, a current Hunton & Williams partner who was hired to conduct the controversial independent review of how the city managed last year’s white supremacist events, will now have another notch on his resume. When UVA Counsel Roscoe Roberts retires at the end of the month, Heaphy, a UVA School of Law alumni, will take his place.

Quote of the week:

“We ain’t mad at you Spike Lee. We just want you to do the right thing.” —Unnamed young people in an open letter to Spike Lee, saying he used their images from the August 12 attack in his movie, BlacKkKlansman, without permission. They want him to donate $219,000 to fight white supremacy.

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