It appears that almost every day the headlines in local papers indicate that a violent crime has been committed in Alexandria. Violent crimes are classified as those crimes where the offender threatens force upon a victim such as murders, assaults, rapes, and armed robberies. Seven homicides have occurred to date, and the number of robberies has escalated, with nine cell phone robberies in the Braddock Road Metro area in the last few weeks alone. When one of our politicians states that crime is down in Alexandria, this may be the case, but only because petty crime incidents are included in the crime count. The fact is that violent crime is on the rise, and no one has expressed concern at City Hall.
Security of the citizens of Alexandria should be the number one priority, yet it does not seem to be the case. Although we have 304 sworn officers on the payroll, their daily assignments throughout the city do not give the citizenry a secure feeling. It is a sad commentary that police presence on our streets is almost non-existent. The latest crime statistics sure don’t reflect our safety from traffic nor from the perpetrators of violent crime.
As reported to the FBI, “Cities' police officer per capita rates vary depending on a range of factors. In 2015, police departments serving cities with populations exceeding 50,000 employed an average of 16.6 officers and 21.4 total personnel for every 10,000 residents.”
The council needs to allocate the proper resources to the Police Department, and in turn, the Police Department needs to marshal their forces to counter the potential threats across the city. Neither is being efficiently done, and that needs to change right now.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet