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Police: Lock Those Car Doors

County Police deliver biennial report to RA.

Lieutenant Andy Hill, the assistant commander of the Fairfax County Police Reston District Station, is urging Reston residents to lock the doors on their vehicles. Auto theft is on the rise in the Reston District and the victims often make it easy for the crime to occur.

"We are really having to get the word out, lock your doors," said Hill. There are even cases where the owners are leaving the vehicle’s valet keys in the vehicle, making the criminal’s job very easy. In 2007, auto theft crime in the district has increased 9 percent when compared to 2006, said Hill. That increase, coupled with a 30 percent increase in vehicle tampering crime, is attributed to an auto theft ring busted this summer. Hill said 16 suspects — the ring — committed 43 percent of all the auto thefts in the district.

Hill presented the comparisons between 2007 and 2006 crimes in the Reston District at the Reston Association regular board meeting on Thursday night, Dec. 13. Larcenies are down 16 percent, but Hill warned that within the last two months there has been an increase in technological gadgets gone missing from vehicles, including ipods and navigation systems. "There’s a lot of door shaking going on, 75 to 80 percent of these cases is because of unlocked doors," said Hill. He said the gadgets are not finding their ways to pawn shops, but are at times showing up on internet sites, such as craigslist.

BURGLARIES IN THE DISTRICT are 28 percent down when compared to last year. Once again, Hill is attributing the decrease to the success of busting a burglary ring early in 2007. He said it is good that 27 burglaries were closed when the people involved were caught, but bad "That we had 27 burglaries." He said the police in the district have concentrated their efforts to close series of burglaries with community awareness campaigns. E-mails, flyers and on-foot canvassing of geographical areas seeing increased burglaries have yielded results for the police, according to Hill.

Robberies are down 3 percent in the district, while they have increased 12 percent in the county. While the use of auxiliary officers and volunteers has been invaluable, Hill said much of the success in reducing robberies in the district could be attributed to detectives at the station level investigating street robberies. Prior to last year, such cases were sent to a central unit in Fairfax County, but station level detectives have taken on those cases since then.

Sex crimes are also down, 23 percent, from last year. However, Hill is weary of the statistics in this case. "I’m worried about non-reports when I see that," he said.

Hill also warned Restonians about the dangers of drinking and driving this holiday season. "This is a very bad time for alcohol-related crashes," he said.