Drug arrests in Virginia 2021 decreased 46.7 percent in 2021 from 2020, according to the Crime in Virginia 2021 report released Wednesday by the state police. The number of total incidents reported was also down: 324,558 in 2021 versus 338,784 in 2020, and 375,639 in 2019. Violent crime was up in 2021 with 16,823 incidents compared to 15,713 in 2020, and 17,993 in 2019.

“Drug arrests decreased by nearly half (46.7%) with the largest percentage decrease in arrestees under age 25 (67.6%). The number of reports of drugs seized decreased for nearly all drug types, especially marijuana (67%), due in part to decriminalization of possessing less than 1 ounce of the drug effective July 1, 2020 and Code of Virginia §18.2-250.1 being repealed July 1, 2021,” reported a Virginia State Police release.

In 2020, the then-Democrat-controlled legislature passed a number of criminal justice reform bills, and in 2021, the General Assembly legalized personal possession of marijuana. Republicans took control of Virginia’s House of Delegates, and elected Republican governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor on an education and economy message, but they also called for pro-law enforcement policies.

Attorney General Jason Miyares’ spokesperson Victoria LaCivita said in a statement, “The report shows that violent crime increased by 7 percent and homicides by 6 percent in 2021. This is a direct result of the criminal first, victim last policies pushed by the previous Democrat controlled legislature. Attorney General Miyares’ number one priority is keeping our communities safe – and he’s doing that by working with law enforcement, community leaders, and legislators to ensure localities have all the resources they need to crack down on violent, repeat offenders.”

The report shows 5,706 victims of forcible sex offenses in 2021, with 4,679 in 2020, and 5,854 in 2019. Total theft of property in 2021 was about $422 million, compared to about $358 million in 2020 and about $383 million in 2019.

Firearms were 45 percent of known weapons in aggravated assaults in 2021, 41 percent in 2020, and 32 percent in 2019.

There were 1,787 reported assaults on officer in 2021, 1,973 in 2020, and 1,939 in 2019.

There were 30 officer-involved shooting situations in 2021, 31 in 2020, and 25 in 2019. According to the report, officer-involved shooting is “the discharge of a firearm by a law-enforcement officer that results in the death or serious bodily injury of another.”

This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.