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Slowwwww Down ...

City police increase rush-hour enforcement in residential neighborhoods.

Thousands of cars pass through the City of Fairfax every day, and many of them cut through residential areas instead of staying on the more arterial roads.

"Residents have been concerned," said Joe Beck, who lives near Lanier Middle School. "Not only with traffic, but with cut-through traffic."

In response to residents' concerns about traffic violations in the city's residential neighborhoods, police assigned an additional officer to traffic enforcement during rush hour in the neighborhoods. "There's a lot of traffic that moves through the city," said Rick Rappoport, chief of police for the City of Fairfax.

The Safe Neighborhoods program began in July and provided for 140 hours of traffic enforcement in targeted residential areas. "We have identified over 100 targeted locations in the city," Rappoport said.

Several of the intersections are in Beck's neighborhood. He is happy with the responsiveness of the police and the Fairfax City Council. "We've seen more cruisers in the neighborhoods recently," Beck said.

A side effect of the City Council-funded program is an increased police visibility in the neighborhoods. "The measure of success is that residents regularly see officers in their neighborhoods," Rappoport said.

"I think people have seen the cruisers there and are probably getting the message," Beck said.

The officers involved in the program also enjoy being out in the community. "We can sit out here, and somebody can walk up to you," said Officer Kyle Penman. Police and residents meet each other, and residents notify police of potential traffic hot spots.

Penman described a resident informing him of a problem location but noting that the problem happens at a certain time of day, a piece of information that can become lost if it has to travel through multiple people. "It's the communication," Penman said. "It's being out here."