Martinsville is ranked in the bottom fourth of selected cities in a list released last month of the safest cities in Virginia.
Alarms.org named Martinsville 30 out of 37 cities. That list did not include any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI or had populations of fewer than 10,000.
Statistics are based on data released in 2018, and that year Martinsville had 54 violent crimes and 471 property crimes. The crime rate per 1,000 is 40.31, and with 50 employees, the law enforcement rate per 1,000 is 3.84.
Violent crimes are classified as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Property crimes includes burglar, larceny-theft and arson.
Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassady presented his annual report to Martinsville City Council in July of last year, when he told members the crime rate in Martinsville increased 17% from 2016 to 2017 and another 15% from 2017 to 2018.
The overall crime rate in the city of Martinsville has increased by one-third in the past two years. Cassady said most of the crimes committed within the city are drug-related.
The seven cities rated higher in crime than Martinsville were Fredericksburg, Norfolk, Richmond, Colonial Heights, Danville, Roanoke and Portsmouth.
By comparison, Danville had a crime rate of 45.32 and a law enforcement rate of 3.29. Roanoke’s crime rate was 48.59 with a law enforcement rate of 3.09.
Martinsville law enforcement handled 155 drug cases in 2018. Cocaine was the preferred illegal drug of choice 32% at the time, followed by pills, 23%; marijuana, 15%, heroin, 14% and meth amphetamine, 12%.
The safest cities on the list in order: Purcellville, Hampton, Manassas Park, Vienna, and Blacksburg.
Purcellville only has 17 law enforcement employees for a population of 10,090 and had only 59 crimes in 2018, resulting in a crime rate of only 5.85.
Purcellville is located in Loudoun County, about an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C.
Blacksburg rounded out the top-5 safest communities in Virginia and is listed as one of the fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas in the country. Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech.
Not included in the list either because of low population or lack of statistical data were Buena Vista, Covington, Emporia, Franklin, Galax, Lexington, Norton, Williamsburg and Winchester.
Alarms.org collected data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies across the country and determined Virginia to have the fourth-lowest violent crime rate in the U.S. and the 13th lowest property crime rate.
Crime rates in all of Virginia’s major cities were below the national average, but Richmond reported 52 murders — more than any other city or county in Virginia — still a vast improvement from the peak of 160 murders in 1994.
Nationwide, only Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire had a lower violent crime rate than Virginia.