Violent Crimes Rate Decreases in Huntington Community
Officers from Fairfax County Police Department discussed crime rate and crime prevention during the recent monthly Huntington Community Association meeting.
Violent crime has decreased 3 percent in Huntington compared to 2011, Mount Vernon Police District Commander Capt. Randy Joyce said during a Huntington Community Association meeting Thursday night.
Joyce said violent crimes include criminal acts such as assault and domestic violence. Overall, Fairfax County has seen a 7 percent decrease, and the Mount Vernon Police District has seen a 5 percent decrease.
MPO Greg Kottemann of the Crime Prevention Office said he has watched the crime rate in the county decrease over the years, and incident reports have also gone down since last year.
"As far as incidents go, for year-to-date as of 2012, there were 243 incident reports written to include all of those written on Huntington Avenue," Kottemann said.
After filtering out every Huntington Avenue address, Kottemann said there were 107 incident reports in just the Huntington community.
"You're cutting out a huge swath by eliminating Huntington Avenue," Kottemann said. "There were 22 larceny shoplifting calls which probably happened at one of the two strip centers."
Kottemann's research also found that 38 percent of the 107 incident reports filed in the Huntington community were community calls, or non-criminal reports. The anomalies in the recent months, Kottemann said, are the two take over robberies at the 7-Elevens on Huntington Avenue and Fairhaven Avenue.
Kottemann also addressed the issue with possible criminal activity in Huntington Park. Many people involved in public alcohol consumption near the fishing hole in Huntington Park are Huntington residents, Kottemann told HCA members.
Unfortunately, he said, it's a complicated situation, considering the area that people are usually found hanging out belongs to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Kottemann said he hopes to keep in touch with Huntington community so, together, they can monitor the area, keep it clean and try to prevent any unwanted activities.
As for crime prevention in the community, Joyce and Kottemann stressed the same points FCPD continuously reminds Fairfax County residents: Lock the doors of their vehicles and homes to prevent break-ins, and report any suspicious activity to the police. Because the streets are pretty dark in Huntington, the officers also suggested leaving porch lights on throughout the night.
During the meeting, Joyce also asked for feedback from the community after FCPD took the initiative to inform residents in flood-prone areas during Hurricane Sandy. In the past, Joyce said the department didn't have enough time to inform people and have had complaints about the lack of information from public safety.
"Hopefully in that, you had more information and you felt better prepared," Joyce said. "By Sunday and Monday when we actually knocked on the doors and hit you with evacuation notices, you were ready for that."
One member, who just moved into the neighborhood said she was grateful for the information. It wasn't overbearing, and it was helpful considering she had never experienced extreme weather in the community.
"We certainly appreciate the police's response and the fire department and other county personnel monitoring the situation," said Harry Shepler, HCA president. "I think there's a sigh of relief after this last storm."
Joyce made it very clear, however, that this kind of initiative will not always happen considering it's a costly activity, but the department and Fairfax County takes necessary steps to inform residents in these types of situations.
HCA members also received an update from Ross Irwin of the Huntington Club Condominiums about possible redevelopment in the coming years. The Hungtingon Club Condominiums recents sent out a letter in support of the bond referendum that would fund a levee to prevent future flooding in the Huntington community.
Irwin said in the coming days, a mass email will be sent to residents to remind and inform them about the bond referendum on this election year's ballot.