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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Annandale is not a haven for gangsters, says police Capt. Lee

Mason CAC Chair Beth Lynch presents the 2012 Officer of the Year Award to MPO Joseph Millirons. Left to right: Lynch, Sgt. Archie Pollard, Millirons, and Capt. Gun Lee.
Recent news reports about gangsters and other crime in Annandale paint an unfair and overly sensationalist picture of the community, says Capt. Gun Lee, commander of the Mason Police District. At a meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) Feb. 5, Lee said “the Annandale area has never been safer.”

The article in question, published in the Washington Post last week, refers to gangster Han Sa Yu who had been convicted in federal court of extorting money from Korean businesses in Annandale. The article compared Yu and the Korean Night Breeders to violent movies about Asian gangsters.

Lee conceded the facts in the article were “mostly correct.”  Yu is “a horrible individual,” and it’s good that the 17 and a-half jail term imposed by a federal judge means “another bad guy is off the streets.” But, he said, Yu “is more like a gangster wannabe” than a criminal mastermind. “He was not as dangerous as the article made him seem.”
The article failed to clearly communicate the cultural issues within the Korean community, where business owners prefer to handle problems on their own rather than bring in the police, Lee said. [Several members of the Korean business community in Annandale contacted by the Annandale blogger echoed that sentiment.] The Washington Post also got Yu’s nickname wrong,  Lee said; it’s “Lightening,” not “Thunder.”

 “I don’t want articles like this to lead to negative feelings about Annandale. This is a great community,” he said, noting that crime was down 8 percent in 2012, compared to 2011.

The one crime that has risen last year is burglary, Lee told the CAC in his annual report on crime in the Mason District. There has been a wave of daytime burglaries in the western part of Annandale. A suspect has been arrested and will be prosecuted in federal court.

Lee urges local residents to make sure you lock your cars because there has also been an increase in late-night “vehicle trespassing” incidents, probably by juveniles. They have been opening unlocked cars parked on residential streets and driveways and taking things like iPods, sunglasses, and loose change.

He urged Neighborhood Watch members to keep their eyes out for these crimes. In other parts of the county, he said, people have been getting into unlocked cars with the purpose of opening garage doors and burglarizing houses.

In other crime news, Lee said weapons violations are down 21 percent and street robberies are down 25 percent from the previous year. The most frequent robbery victims tend to be immigrants who are more likely to be carrying cash because they don’t trust banks.

Domestic violence and assault cases are down from 358 in 2011 to 293 in 2012, Lee said, but “it’s still too high.” The Mason Police District will conduct a free self-defense class for women victims of domestic violence Feb. 24 at First Christian Church on Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners. The class is full but more sessions might be scheduled.

“DUI enforcement is our number-one priority,” Lee said. “It’s a life and death situation. It’s not easy but our officers do a fantastic job.” For the first time, the Mason Police District won a “Safe December” campaign, making more arrests for driving under the influence than any other district.

Lee also said his officers will be strengthening enforcement around pedestrian safety, targeting routes 7, 50, and 236. He said nearly 90 percent of accidents involving pedestrians are due to people who cross streets without watching for cars, often because they are distracted with electronic devices or intoxicated.

Following the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December, police officers stepped up their presence at Fairfax County schools, said Lt. Archie Pollard. The police department has been carrying out “active shooter” training exercises with the school system. In the past, the protocol called for police to wait for a SWAT team. Now, when there’s an active shooter,  “it’s game on”  as soon as officers arrive on the scene, he said.

During the meeting, CAC Chair Beth Lynch presented the 2012 Officer of the Year Award to Master Police Officer Joseph Millirons, a 26-year veteran of the Fairfax County police force. Pollard praised Millirons’ “infectious enthusiasm for law enforcement.”

Millirons created the “Mason inspections unit,” which brings together representatives from the police, fire, code enforcement, and health code departments to inspect local businesses once a month and look for potential problems. The goal is to look for “obvious signs of criminal intent” and prevent organized crime from gaining a foothold in the community, Pollard said. The unit made 170 arrests over the past two years and seized about $75,000.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty sad days when you have to lead in with a headline like that...anyway the big story is the old Three Chefs/Fuddruckers building is GONE!!! Look forward to a few more busck the new structure will bring in county tax revenue in addition to rejuvinating THE prime corner in Annandale that Fudruckers used for a dumpster! - no wonder they are no longer there!