Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

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Fairfax County’s reputation as one of the safest counties in the country continues. The statistics prove it. Crime is down for the third quarter in a row, according to Police Chief David Rohrer, who released the good news in mid-November.

Overall index crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) decreased by almost two percent during the first nine months of 2009, compared to the same time period in 2008. The only increase was in reported larcenies which were up less than one percent in the first half of this year. The index crime numbers are reported monthly to federal authorities, and incorporated into the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report annually.

For a population of more than one million people, the Fairfax County stats are especially good news, reinforcing the collaboration and cooperation between county residents and their police force. Several recent high-profile crimes gained a lot of publicity, and also got solved fairly quickly. In July, the heinous murder of a respected Korean acupuncturist in Annandale, in broad daylight, raised fears among some in the Korean community that they were being targeted. Board Chairman Sharon Bulova and I met with community members and the media in late July to allay fears and reiterate that the police were seeking any and all leads in the crime. Good police work resulted in the arrest of a suspect in Ohio just 10 weeks later, and more arrests may be forthcoming.

Although none were reported in Mason District, a number of home invasions, particularly focused on Indians and East Asians, brought similar fears for another segment of our diverse community that they also were being targeted, and a concern about police response. The modus operandi appeared to be several people forcing their way into homes, stealing gold and precious jewelry, and making their escape. Sometimes the residents were home; most times the burglaries were done while residents were at work. There were few clues, and the burglaries were sporadic around the county, so it was difficult to determine if there was a trend for particular neighborhoods. As the investigation proceeded, an alert officer, not involved in the investigation, made a traffic stop, sensed something was not quite right about the vehicle’s occupants, and ended up arresting gang members from the New York area in connection with the case. It was one more example of well-trained police officers following their instincts to enhance and protect public safety. In both cases, the perpetrators were apprehended, put in jail, and are awaiting trial, while the investigations continue.

Fairfax County taxpayers have invested heavily in developing and maintaining a premier police force to protect our community. That investment pays dividends every day. The statistics prove it.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at [email protected]

 

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