Property crimes, particularly larcenies, increased in the Mount Vernon District in 2011 compared to 2010, according to new statistics from Fairfax County police.
The Mount Vernon District includes Mount Vernon, Fort Hunt, Hybla Valley, Belle Haven and the east part of Huntington (see PDF map here) — an area of about 26 square miles along the Richmond Highway corridor.
District-wide, there were 2,099 larcenies reported to police in 2011, a 10 percent increase over the previous year.
There were also 211 reported auto thefts, a 6 percent increase over 2010. Burglaries rose only slightly, from 178 in 2010 to 180 in 2011.
The most common type of theft in the district occurs when property is taken from unlocked vehicles at night, said crime prevention officer Greg Kottemann with the Mount Vernon District Station of the Fairfax County Police Department.
Good personal and community security habits can help prevent many property crimes, Kottemann said. Police suggest the following tips to help avoid becoming a victim:
- Always keep home doors locked at all times.
- Turn on exterior lights at night.
- Consider using timers on interior lights to avoid coming home to a dark house.
- Keep garage doors closed and lock the door from the garage to the home. Don’t leave the garage door opener in the car parked in the driveway.
- When out of town, ask a trusted person to check your house daily and pick up mail and newspapers.
- When taking out the trash, conceal from view boxes from electronic items.
- Do not open the door to strangers.
- Keep a home inventory with the make, model, serial number and detailed description of valuables.
- Report suspicious or criminal behavior to police immediately. The non-emergency police number is 703-691-2131.
- Always keep car doors locked.
- Do not leave spare keys in your vehicle.
- If you have wheel locks, do not leave the wheel lock key in the vehicle.
- If you have an alarm system in your vehicle, always activate it when locking the doors.
- Keep exterior home lights on all night and report street light outages here.
- Avoid parking your vehicle in a dark area.
- Report suspicious noises, events and persons to the police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.