Violent crime in Prince William County rose in 2012, even as the overall crime rate dropped for the fifth straight year, according to the police department’s annual report released at a news conference on Tuesday.
The county had two murders in 2012, the lowest in decades. The most serious crimes — including rapes, aggravated assaults and robbery — rose 8.96 percent, primarily driven by a 46 percent spike in rapes over 2011. Rapes that occurred in past years, but are counted in the year they are reported, accounted for 4.1 percent of the almost 9 percent increase in the violent crime rate.
The number of reported rapes climbed from 46 in 2011 to 67 last year, the report showed.
Police Chief Stephan M. Hudson credited public education efforts with more victims feeling that they could come forward with crimes that, in some cases, took place years ago.
“Overall, the general knowledge of the public … has been helpful in showing that it is safe and appropriate to come forward,” he said.