This Virginia Town Has Been Named the Most Violent in the State

Virginia has an interesting history, beautiful scenery, and a diverse culture. But not all Old Dominion areas are safe and tranquil. Virginia cities with greater crime rates than the national average are risky to reside in or visit. Based on the newest FBI crime data, this essay will examine Virginia’s most violent town and its likely causes and solutions.

Portsmouth, Virginia’s Most Violent Town

Portsmouth was Virginia’s most dangerous town in 2022, according to FBI crime data. Portsmouth, is a port city in Hampton Roads, with 98,000 residents. The oldest and largest U.S. Navy industrial complex, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, is located there.

Portsmouth has a dark side. It led Virginia in violent and property crime in 2022, with a three-fold greater crime rate than the state average. Portsmouth residents have a 1 in 114 risk of being attacked, murdered, or raped in 2022, so be vigilant. Portsmouth had 421 burglaries last year, ranking third in Virginia. Don’t leave your doors unlocked.

Portsmouth has a history of crime. The city has been among Virginia’s most deadly for a decade, according to numerous sources. In 2011, a local newspaper called Portsmouth “the murder capital of Virginia” following 25 homicides in one year.

Why Is Portsmouth Violent?

Portsmouth’s violence has no easy cause. Crime is complicated, and influenced by poverty, unemployment, education, drugs, gangs, policing, and societal standards. Some plausible causes of Portsmouth’s high crime rate are:

Portsmouth’s 18.4% poverty rate is higher than the state average of 9.9%. Poverty causes stress, desperation, and inequity, which fuels crime. Poverty-stricken people may commit crimes to survive or vent their fury.

Portsmouth’s 8.6% unemployment rate is higher than the state average of 4.5%. Unemployment limits chances and incentives for lawful jobs, which can lead to crime. Unemployed people may commit crimes to make money or cope with boredom and depression.

Education: Portsmouth has 21.4% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 38.1% throughout the state. Education gives people the skills, information, and values they need to succeed in life, preventing crime. Education leads to better jobs, wages, and social connections, which can lower crime.

Drugs: Portsmouth is plagued by heroin and fentanyl. According to the Virginia Department of Health, Portsmouth had the highest drug overdose fatality rate in 2019 at 71 per 100,000. Due to their effects on judgment, impulse control, and morality, drugs can drive crime. Drugs can also fuel illegal markets, which can lead to violence and corruption among sellers and consumers.

Portsmouth has many local and national gangs. Portsmouth Police say there are 30 gangs with 600 members. Gangs commit turf conflicts, drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, and other crimes. Gangs may recruit and influence youth who regard them as a source of identity, protection, and belonging.

What Can Portsmouth Do to Lower Crime?

Portsmouth’s crime problem is difficult to solve. Law enforcement, government, community, education, health, and social services must work together to reduce crime. However, these methods may assist Portsmouth lower its crime rate:

Portsmouth’s understaffed, underfunded, and undertrained police force needs more funding and training. Portsmouth has 237 sworn officers, below the national average of 2.4 per 1,000 population, according to the Portsmouth Police Department. Portsmouth’s 38.9% violent crime clearance rate and 12.8% property crime clearance rate suggest most crimes go unsolved and unpunished. Portsmouth must recruit more cops, upgrade their equipment, training, and incentives, and build community trust.

Improve the economy: Portsmouth needs additional economic opportunities for its inhabitants, especially the impoverished and unemployed. Portsmouth must offer tax incentives, infrastructure, and security to attract additional enterprises, industries, and investments.

Portsmouth needs to strengthen workforce development and offer additional education, training, and job placement services for inhabitants, especially adolescents and ex-offenders.

Education: Portsmouth’s poor, underfunded, and unequal education system requires improvement. Portsmouth’s graduation rate is 82.9%, below the state average of 92.3%, according to the Virginia Department of Education. Portsmouth’s 10.9% dropout rate is higher than the state average of 5.1%.

Portsmouth needs to raise school funding, resources, and standards and give more support, guidance, and enrichment for kids, especially those in danger of dropping out or failing.

Preventing and treating drug abuse: Portsmouth must handle its drug problem, a huge public health and safety issue. Portsmouth must increase drug abuse prevention and education, especially for youth. Portsmouth needs to increase drug addiction treatment and recovery programs such as counseling, medicine, and rehabilitation and remove stigma and barriers to access.

Combating gang violence: Portsmouth must address its gang problem, which causes violence and criminality. Portsmouth must eliminate gangs and prosecute its leaders and members. Portsmouth should also prevent and intervene in gang recruitment and engagement and offer young people mentoring, sports, arts, and community service.


The latest FBI crime data shows Portsmouth is Virginia’s most dangerous town. Portsmouth must strengthen the police, improve the economy, improve education, prevent and treat drug misuse, and fight gang violence to lower its crime rate. Portsmouth might become safer and more prosperous if it can reduce crime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *