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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crime declined in Mason District in 2010 with one exception - aggravated assault

Major Arnn
Crime has declined within the Mason Police District in all areas except one -  aggravated assault, said Major Ted Arnn March 1 at a meeting of the Mason Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC).

Arnn, the former commander of the Mason District station has recently been promoted and is now in charge of the Mason and McLean stations and the youth services department. Captain Gun Lee, the former assistant commander was promoted to take Arnn’s place as head of the Mason District station. The Mason District Police District encompasses parts of the Mason and Providence magisterial districts of Fairfax County, including areas of Annandale north of Route 236.

According to unofficial crime data for 2010, there were 88 aggravated assaults in the Mason District, an increase from 2009, Arnn told members of the CAC. Aggravated assaults include beatings, shootings, and knifings.

In Mason during 2010, there was one homicide [still unsolved], 14 rapes, 74 robberies, 142 burglaries, and 2,053 larcenies, according to unofficial statistics. All those numbers are down from previous years, which reflects national trends. Of all the police districts in Fairfax County, Mason is the second-highest (after Mt. Vernon) in incidents of violent crime, Arnn says, and is third (after McLean and Franconia) in property crime.

Larceny is the most common property crime in the county. The hot spots in Mason are along Route 236, Bailey’s Crossroads, and Seven Corners. “Neighborhoods are still pretty much quiet, safe places,” Arnn says. Shoplifting accounts for about one-third of larceny cases, and another third are thefts from cars. “Lock your car and don’t leave any valuables in your car,” Arnn urged the audience. When you park, “treat your car as if it’s a convertible with the top down.”

Left to right: Mason District CAC
Chair Ben Hester, PFC William
Arness, and Capt. Gun Lee
 Gang activity in Mason has been “relatively quiet” in 2010, he says, although “Mason still accounts for most of the gang activity in the county.” He attributes the lull to the police having more information about gang members. But make no mistake, he says, “gangs are still here,” although “when they are violent, they are violent with each other.”

Most of the non-emergency calls to the Mason station are about larceny, he says. Other frequent calls have to do with noise, domestic violence, and public drunkenness. Chronic drunks are now offered a stay in a detox center instead of jail.

The Mason Police District is divided into five sections, with officers assigned to a particular section. “This is community policing,” Arnn says. “The same officers patrol their areas day in and day out, so they really get to know those streets and businesses.”

Arnn described a new technology system implemented in 2010 that “dramatically improved” police efficiency and response times. Every patrol car is now equipped with a computer that integrates records management, report writing, and a GPS system that shows where calls are coming from. Officers have immediate access to crime statistics and all other officers’ reports, and the dispatcher can see on a map where all the patrol cars are.

In a report to the CAC on his plans for 2011, Lee said, “my goal is to fight crime” and plans to focus on DWI cases, domestic violence, and pedestrian safety. His long-term goals involve preventing crimes against victims from the most disadvantaged groups, due to socioeconomic status or age, and to improve communication with diverse groups in the community. “We can’t do it alone; we need your guidance and support,” Lee says. He asked the audience to let the police know what’s working and what needs improvement. After all, that’s the purpose of the CAC.

At the meeting, Master Police Officer Steve Faett was honored as Mason District Officer of the Year for his leadership, strong work ethic, and willingness to volunteer for the midnight squad. PFC William Arness was honored as Mason District Officer of the Month. After stopping a car for a minor violation, he discovered illegal drugs along with credit cards and IDs with several different names, leading to an FBI investigation of a credit card and counterfeit scheme.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for covering the happenings at the Citizens' Advisory Committee Mtg. (CAC). All residents of Mason Dist are always welcome to attend this monthly mtg. held every 1st Tues. of the month, starting at 7:30 pm. Learn about the officers who serve us so well, hear from the command staff about recent happenings, and ask any questions you may have.