The Cranky Taxpayer

The Cranky Taxpayer

Forest Hill Neighborhood


Home | High Taxes | High Crime | Lousy Schools | Obdurate Bureaucrats
Crime Rate | Vice Locations | RRHA | 400-600 Westover Hills | Forest Hill Neighborhood | George Wythe
Offenses by Block


The Police Department database gives a snapshot of what is happening in the Forest Hill area.

First the geography: In the Police database, the Forest Hill Neighborhood runs from the Park to Westover Hills Blvd. and from Forest Hill Ave. to the River:

As you see, this does not include all of the Forest Hill Neighborhood Association area and does include some of the Westover Hills Association area.

Microsoft has a nice view of the area.

Warning: The data below by block are distorted in a few cases by counting only one side of the street on the boundary.  For example, the data for the 4700 and 4800 blocks of Forest Hill Ave. count only the data from the north side of the street.

Here are the offense report counts for the Forest Hill Neighborhood for 1/1/00 through 12/31/13, duplicate reports deleted, sorted with the most numerous first.  I have highlighted the drug, violent, and weapons offenses for emphasis.

Offense Description Count %
THEFT FROM MOTOR VEHICLE 454 27.7%
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE PROPERTY 216 13.2%
ALL OTHER LARCENY 118 7.2%
HIT AND RUN 99 6.0%
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT 76 4.6%
BURGLARY/B&E/RESIDENTIAL 74 4.5%
THEFT FROM BUILDING 56 3.4%
SUSPICIOUS SITUATION/PERSON 49 3.0%
NATURAL DEATH 38 2.3%
BURGLARY/B&E/OUTBUILDING 35 2.1%
CITY CODE VIOLATIONS 34 2.1%
THEFT OF MOTOR VEHICLE PARTS/ACCESSORIES 31 1.9%
SIMPLE ASSAULT 24 1.5%
BURGLARY/B&E/COMMERCIAL 21 1.3%
SIMPLE ASSAULT, DOMESTIC 18 1.1%
ALL OTHER OFFENSES 17  
DRUG/NARCOTIC VIOLATION 17  
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/CITY PROPERTY 16  
FRAUD, CREDIT CARD 15  
ROBBERY/INDIVIDUAL 14  
LOST / MISSING / SUSPICIOUS PROPERTY 12  
TRESPASS OF REAL PROPERTY 12  
FOUND PROPERTY 12  
OBSCENE/THREATENING PHONE CALL 11  
COURT DOCUMENTS 10  
MISSING PERSON 9  
INDECENT EXPOSURE 8  
FORGERY BY CHECK 8  
ANNOYING PHONE CALLS 8  
DRUNKENNESS 7  
IMPERSONATION 7  
TAMPERING WITH AUTO 6  
THEFT OF MOPED/OTHER VEHICLE TYPE 5  
FALSE PRETENSES/SWINDLE/CONFIDENCE GAME 5  
SHOOTING AT/WITHIN OCCUPIED DWELLING 5  
SUICIDE 4  
FORGERY/COUNTERFEITING/ALL OTHER 4  
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 4  
FORGERY BY CREDIT CARD 3  
THREATEN BODILY HARM 3  
UNINTENTIONAL DEATH 3  
SHOPLIFTING 3  
LIQUOR LAW VIOLATIONS 3  
YOUTH AND FAMILY CRIMES INQUIRY 3  
DUI, ALCOHOL 3  
RUNAWAY 3  
WEAPON LAW VIOLATIONS 3  
FRAUD, ATM 2  
POSSESSION OF BURGLARY TOOLS 2  
THROW MISSILE AT OCCUPIED DWELLING 2  
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE/GRAFFITI 2  
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS 2  
UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE 2  
SEXUAL BATTERY 2  
STALKING 2  
KIDNAPPING/ABDUCTION 2  
DEATH BY DROWNING 2  
EMBEZZLEMENT 2  
WEAPON LAW VIOLATIONS, CONCEALED WEAPON 2  
RECOVERED VEHICLE-STOLEN OTHER JURIS. 2  
ROBBERY/CARJACKING 1  
BOMB THREAT 1  
SEARCH WARRANT - DRUGS 1  
BURGLARY 1  
LOST / SUSPICIOUS PROPERTY 1  
OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE 1  
THROW MISSILE AT OCCUPIED VEHICLE 1  
PICKPOCKET 1  
WARRANT SERVED FROM OTHER JURISDICTION 1  
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL BATTERY 1  
AGGR ASSAULT ATTEMPTED MURDER 1  
PROMISCUOUS SHOOTING 1  
FALSE INFORMATION TO POLICE 1  
SUDDEN DEATH 1  
ACCIDENTAL DEATH 1  
PURSE SNATCHING 1  
FORCIBLE RAPE 1  
SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE 1  
SEXUAL ASSAULT WITH AN OBJECT 1  
ARSON 1  
FRAUD/FORGERY INCIDENT 1  
DEATH INVESTIGATION (MATTER PENDING) 1  
WIRE FRAUD 1  
ROBBERY/ATM 1  
ROBBERY/BANK 1  
NON-REPORTABLE OFFENSES 1  
     
Grand Total 1638  

You might notice the paucity of promiscuous shooting reports (only one in fourteen years).  If you live near the park, you know there's been a fair amount of gunfire, especially before they installed the gates, and we know one neighbor who has called multiple times.  Sigh.  I don't know about you but this inserts in me the worm of worry about the accuracy of the data.

The Good News here is that the most numerous offenses are nonviolent.  Property crimes dominate the list, as one might expect for a residential area.  In fact, counting down the list, 73.7% of the reports are in property crime categories reported more frequently than the most frequent violent offense, simple assault.  Plus whatever part of the 2.1% City Code violations relate to property.

The Bad News is that our most common crime is almost completely preventable.

*** Rant Begins ***

By far the most common offense (29% in this time frame) is "Theft from Motor Vehicle." That crime (and much of the property destruction that reflects broken car windows) would entirely disappear if we (and the people who visit in our neighborhood, see below) would lock our stuff in the trunk or take it into the house. Indeed, our bad habits in this respect have the unfortunate effect of chumming the neighborhood to attract criminals.

This is a particularly clear demonstration of the general proposition (one you will see stated elsewhere in these pages) that "they" (being the cops, the City, the federal government, the schools, or anybody else you choose to blame) are not responsible for solving our crime problem; we are the front line.

*** Rant Ends ***

Aside from the low rate of violent crime in our neighborhood, the Very Good News is that the crime rate is decreasing:

The blue line is the raw count of offense reports by year.  The yellow line is the computer's linear fit to those data.  There's no particular reason to expect the numbers to lie on a straight line.  Nonetheless, the R2 value tells us that the time variable explains over 72% of the variance in the number of reports.  To the extent the line gives a decent measure of the trend, it shows a decrease of about 8.8 offense reports per year (i.e., 5.6% of the initial count per year).

We could speculate that the bump in 2010 reflects the recent recession and, perhaps, the considerable post-recession use of the Park.

As you see, much of the decrease has been driven by a decrease in thefts from motor vehicles.  See below for one reason for the decrease in thefts from vehicles after 2006-07.

Turning to location, here are the blocks with the most offense reports:

Block Count
4200 Block RIVERSIDE DR 277
4400 Block Forest Hill Ave 108
4100 Block RIVERSIDE DR 94
4700 Block FOREST HILL AVE 47
4800 Block Forest Hill Ave 45
4500 Block Forest Hill Ave 35
4100 Block Hillcrest Road 34
4700 Block King William Road 31
4400 Block Stonewall Ave 30
4000 Block RIVERSIDE DR 28
4600 Block DEVONSHIRE ROAD 25
   
Average of all Blocks 16.7
Median Block 11

For a complete list, sorted by block, follow this link.

 

The Top Five Blocks

First: 4200 Riverside Drive (16.9% of the reports).

A graph showing the counts for the top five blocks emphasizes how far out of line the count is at the 4200 block:

Forty-eight percent of the offense reports in the 4200 block are thefts from motor vehicles.  Another 16% are property destruction, such as broken car windows where there was nothing to steal.

Offense Description Count %
THEFT FROM MOTOR VEHICLE 134 48.4%
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE PROPERTY 45 16.2%
CITY CODE VIOLATIONS 34 12.3%
ALL OTHER LARCENY 9 3.2%
ALL OTHER OFFENSES 7 2.5%
INDECENT EXPOSURE 5 1.8%
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT 4 1.4%
SUSPICIOUS SITUATION/PERSON 4 1.4%
BURGLARY/B&E/OUTBUILDING 3 1.1%
BURGLARY/B&E/RESIDENTIAL 3 1.1%
LIQUOR LAW VIOLATIONS 3 1.1%
TRESPASS OF REAL PROPERTY 3 1.1%
THEFT FROM BUILDING 2  
RECOVERED VEHICLE-STOLEN OTHER JURIS. 2  
DRUG/NARCOTIC VIOLATION 2  
SUICIDE 1  
THEFT OF MOTOR VEHICLE PARTS/ACCESSORIES 1  
FORGERY BY CREDIT CARD 1  
DEATH BY DROWNING 1  
UNINTENTIONAL DEATH 1  
OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE 1  
HIT AND RUN 1  
SIMPLE ASSAULT 1  
IMPERSONATION 1  
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/CITY PROPERTY 1  
COURT DOCUMENTS 1  
ARSON 1  
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS 1  
LOST / MISSING / SUSPICIOUS PROPERTY 1  
FOUND PROPERTY 1  
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 1  
FRAUD, CREDIT CARD 1  
Grand Total 277  

The location code descriptions of the offenses reported in this block show that almost half are in a parking lot.

Offense Description Count %
PARKING LOT / GARAGE 123 44.6%
HIGHWAY / ROAD / ALLEY 56 20.3%
LAKE / WATERWAY 34 12.3%
OTHER / UNKNOWN 25 9.1%
FIELD / WOODS 19 6.9%
RESIDENCE/HOME 10 3.6%
PARK/PLAYGROUND 5 1.8%
CONVENIENCE STORE 1  
RESIDENCE (MULTIPLE UNITS) 1  
GROCERY / SUPERMARKET 1  
LIQUOR STORE 1  
     
Total

276

 

(I don't understand why the computer shows 277 offense reports in 276 places.)

Some of the entries (notably the convenience store, liquor store, and grocery) suggest that the officers don't pay any undue attention to the location code.

Both of the drug reports are in "parking lot/garage."  Likewise 25 of the 45 private property destruction reports are from the parking lot, with another 16 on the street.

This very high rate in a residential neighborhood, where one side of the street is trees, suggests that the lowlives who are chummed into the neighborhood by the stuff left in cars are causing other problems.

The data comport with our experience: The nexus of the problem in this block is the 42d St. parking lot of James River Park.

(Note: FOJRP show the lot a block east of its actual location.)

We have Good News here: The new gates (when they are closed) largely eliminate the nighttime disorder in the park.  Most of the car breakins have been in the lower lot, presumably because the area is harder to see from the road.  In 2006, Ralph White and his folks blocked off most of the parking spaces there and Parks began closing the gates on weekdays.

j

The results were helpful.

This led to a new normal of about 4 car breakins per year, vs. the earlier normal of four times that.

A comparison of the top blocks for 2005 with those for 2013 emphasizes the improvement.

Block 2005 2013
4200 Block RIVERSIDE DR 36 6
4100 Block RIVERSIDE DR 11 3
4400 Block Forest Hill Ave 7 4
1400 Block Cedar Lane 4 1
1500 Block W 45th St 3 1
2000 Block Westover Hills Blvd 3 3
4000 Block RIVERSIDE DR 3 5
4300 Block Smithdeal Ave 3 0
4700 Block FOREST HILL AVE 3 3
     
Grand Total 113 59

If we take out the three thefts from motor vehicle in the 4200 block in 2013, it still leaves us tied with the 4400 block of Forest Hill.  I think it is past time to start warning our visitors about the danger to stuff left in their cars. 

Second: 4400 block of Forest Hill Ave. (6% of the reports).  Note that the data here cover only the church and commercial properties on the north side of the street.

The numbers in 4400 Forest Hill show a different pattern

Offense Description Count %
NATURAL DEATH 27 25.0%
SIMPLE ASSAULT 10 9.3%
THEFT FROM MOTOR VEHICLE 9 8.3%
SUSPICIOUS SITUATION/PERSON 6 5.6%
ALL OTHER LARCENY 5 4.6%
THEFT FROM BUILDING 4 3.7%
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE PROPERTY 4 3.7%
HIT AND RUN 4 3.7%
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT 4 3.7%
ANNOYING PHONE CALLS 3 2.8%
YOUTH AND FAMILY CRIMES INQUIRY 3 2.8%
MISSING PERSON 3 2.8%
ROBBERY/INDIVIDUAL 2 1.9%
OBSCENE/THREATENING PHONE CALL 2 1.9%
UNAUTHORIZED USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE 2 1.9%
LOST / MISSING / SUSPICIOUS PROPERTY 2 1.9%
SEXUAL BATTERY 2 1.9%
BOMB THREAT 1  
EMBEZZLEMENT 1  
TAMPERING WITH AUTO 1  
BURGLARY/B&E/COMMERCIAL 1  
UNINTENTIONAL DEATH 1  
KIDNAPPING/ABDUCTION 1  
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 1  
AGGRAVATED SEXUAL BATTERY 1  
DRUG/NARCOTIC VIOLATION 1  
FALSE PRETENSES/SWINDLE/CONFIDENCE GAME 1  
ACCIDENTAL DEATH 1  
FOUND PROPERTY 1  
WEAPON LAW VIOLATIONS, CONCEALED WEAPON 1  
SIMPLE ASSAULT, DOMESTIC 1  
SUDDEN DEATH 1  
BURGLARY/B&E/RESIDENTIAL 1  
Grand Total 108  

Past looks at this block showed that most of the reports came from the nursing home at 4403.

In the past, the database showed the actual address of each report except where there was a reason, e.g., sex crime, to just report the block.  In those cases, the addresses showed with the last two digits as XX, e.g., 44XX.  They now report all the addresses with the last two digits as XX.  They have not articulated any reason for concealing this information from the public.  Sigh!

We can expect that the major problem in this block continues to be the nursing home but the current data cannot show that.

Indeed, there are only four structures on the north side of this block: the church, one medical office, one former medical office, and the nursing home.  We just don't see many assaults, kidnappings, or sexual batteries in churches or medical offices.  So even without the old data we could infer that the nursing home is the problem in this block.

The natural deaths among the patients at the nursing home probably are not a problem for the neighborhood.  Some of the other, rough, stuff should be a concern.  Indeed, if the natural deaths were not counted, this block would drop only one place, still ahead of the commercial block at 4700 Forest Hill.

Third: 4100 block of Riverside Drive (5.3% of the reports).

The 4100 Block of Riverside runs a distant third to the 4200 block but the problem there, again, is thefts from motor vehicles

Offense Description Count %
THEFT FROM MOTOR VEHICLE 53 56.4%
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE PROPERTY 14 14.9%
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/CITY PROPERTY 5 5.3%
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT 3 3.2%
TRESPASS OF REAL PROPERTY 2 2.1%
ALL OTHER OFFENSES 2 2.1%
FRAUD, CREDIT CARD 2 2.1%
SIMPLE ASSAULT 1  
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE/GRAFFITI 1  
SUSPICIOUS SITUATION/PERSON 1  
FOUND PROPERTY 1  
FORGERY BY CREDIT CARD 1  
ALL OTHER LARCENY 1  
SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE 1  
HIT AND RUN 1  
TAMPERING WITH AUTO 1  
BURGLARY/B&E/COMMERCIAL 1  
DRUG/NARCOTIC VIOLATION 1  
NATURAL DEATH 1  
POSSESSION OF BURGLARY TOOLS 1  
Grand Total 94  

mostly in the parking lot of James River Park.

Offense Description Count
PARKING LOT / GARAGE 63
OTHER / UNKNOWN 10
HIGHWAY / ROAD / ALLEY 9
FIELD / WOODS 6
GOVERNMENT / PUBLIC BUILDING 2
PHARMACY/DR`S OFFICE/HOSPITAL 1
RESTAURANT 1
DEPARTMENT / DISCOUNT STORE 1
PARK/PLAYGROUND 1
Total 94

The problem continues, despite the recent (and most welcome) attention to the parking lot by our bicycle officer, Stacy Rogers.

 

Fourth: 4700 Forest Hill Ave. (2.8%) (again, just the north side of the street). 

Ordinarily, one would expect the center of disorder to be the commercial district.  In our neighborhood, the anomalies of the Park and the nursing home push the highest block in the commercial district down to fourth. 

Offense Description Count %
HIT AND RUN 7 14.9%
FORGERY BY CHECK 5 10.6%
ROBBERY/INDIVIDUAL 4 8.5%
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE PROPERTY 3 6.4%
LOST / MISSING / SUSPICIOUS PROPERTY 3 6.4%
FORGERY/COUNTERFEITING/ALL OTHER 3 6.4%
ALL OTHER LARCENY 3 6.4%
SUSPICIOUS SITUATION/PERSON 2 4.3%
IMPERSONATION 2 4.3%
THEFT FROM MOTOR VEHICLE 2 4.3%
FRAUD, ATM 2 4.3%
THEFT FROM BUILDING 2 4.3%
ROBBERY/ATM 1  
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/CITY PROPERTY 1  
ROBBERY/BANK 1  
FRAUD/FORGERY INCIDENT 1  
ANNOYING PHONE CALLS 1  
PICKPOCKET 1  
FORGERY BY CREDIT CARD 1  
FOUND PROPERTY 1  
LOST / SUSPICIOUS PROPERTY 1  
Grand Total 47  

Fifth:  4800 Forest Hill Ave

Again, the commercial district.  Again only the north side of the street.

Offense Description Count %
DESTRUCTION PROPERTY/PRIVATE PROPERTY 7 15.6%
SIMPLE ASSAULT 5 11.1%
THEFT FROM MOTOR VEHICLE 4 8.9%
ALL OTHER LARCENY 4 8.9%
HIT AND RUN 4 8.9%
OBSCENE/THREATENING PHONE CALL 3 6.7%
SIMPLE ASSAULT, DOMESTIC 2 4.4%
THEFT FROM BUILDING 2 4.4%
BURGLARY/B&E/COMMERCIAL 2 4.4%
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT 2 4.4%
SHOOTING AT/WITHIN OCCUPIED DWELLING 1  
THEFT OF MOTOR VEHICLE PARTS/ACCESSORIES 1  
DUI, ALCOHOL 1  
FOUND PROPERTY 1  
SUSPICIOUS SITUATION/PERSON 1  
ROBBERY/INDIVIDUAL 1  
FALSE PRETENSES/SWINDLE/CONFIDENCE GAME 1  
EMBEZZLEMENT 1  
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 1  
MISSING PERSON 1  
Grand Total 45  

 

CONCLUSIONS

See elsewhere for an analysis of the drug problems near our neighborhood.  Of course, the drug dealing and other disorder in the nearby apartment complexes contribute to the property and other crime in our peaceful neighborhood (and in the Park).  Here is what a Justice Department Monograph says on that subject:

Drug dealing in apartment complexes can attract other nuisance behavior that diminishes the residents' quality of life, such as loitering; littering (including drug paraphernalia and used condoms); trespassing; prostitution (including illegal sexual activity on the property, in nearby yards, in alleys, or in driveways); drug use; abandoned vehicles; speeding vehicles; parking problems; unwanted additional foot, car and bicycle traffic in residential neighborhoods; public drinking; public urination; gang formation; graffiti (establishing turf ownership of a drug market); assaults; auto theft; auto breakins; residential and commercial burglaries; possession of and trafficking in stolen property; weapons violations (including gun possession and gun trafficking); robberies; drive-by shootings; or other violent crime (including homicide). This helps explain why successfully tackling a drug market can bring about substantial decreases in crime in the surrounding area.

These Forest Hill data suggest (at least) three conclusions:

  • We (and our visitors) are our biggest crime problem (for leaving stuff in our vehicles);

  • The park is our next biggest crime problem (mostly car breakins and other efforts by the folks who come to our neighborhood to break into cars);

  • The nursing home needs a close looking over.

Back to the Top

High Taxes | High Crime | Lousy Schools | Obdurate Bureaucrats

Last updated 06/21/14
Please send questions or comments to John Butcher