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Arlington Homicide-Free for Two Years, But ACPD Staffing Levels a Concern

by ARLnow.com | March 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm | 3,061 views | 127 Comments

As of today, Arlington County has been homicide-free for exactly two years. It’s the first time Arlington has gone this long without a homicide in the 72-year history of the Arlington County Police Department.

“Reaching this mark is only possible through a combination of effective policing, excellent medical care, successful prosecution and cooperating communities; all of which we have experienced in Arlington County the past two years,” police chief M. Douglas Scott said in a statement.

The county has not recorded a single homicide since March 14, 2010, when a 20-year-old man was stabbed to death in the Lyon Park neighborhood. The suspect in the case later pleaded guilty to second degree murder.

Amid the celebration of the murder-free milestone, however, there’s some concern within the department that there are not enough cops on the street to ensure that the recent, broader drop in crime continues. Despite a growing population and new post-9/11 anti-terrorism responsibilities, Arlington’s police force has actually shrunk slightly since 2001.

Whereas there were 362 sworn officers in Fiscal Year 2001 for a population of 189,983, there are currently 359 sworn officers for a population of 213,400 in FY 2012. That means ratio of officers to every 1,000 residents is 1.68, compared to 1.91 in FY 2001. That ratio is expected to get even narrower — to 1.67 — if the current recommended FY 2013 budget is adopted. (The population is expected to grow to 215,000 while the budget doesn’t provide for any additional officers.)

By comparison, in 2010 Alexandria’s officer/resident ratio was 2.19, and D.C.’s ratio was 6.52, according to a law enforcement source. Just to match Alexandria’s ratio, Arlington would need to hire more than 100 new officers.

“Our numbers are extremely low,” a police official told ARLnow.com. “Obviously we’re working efficiently, I don’t think anybody would deny that… [but] at some point in time, I’m not sure how much lower our ratio can go” without a corresponding increase in crime.

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  • Law-Abiding Tax-Evading Speeder

    I’m less concerned with a slight drop in number of officers than I am the fact that they never seem to be walking a beat or even Segwaying a beat or riding a bike anywhere. I get it that the cars offer protection, but it seems to me that a cop on foot is going to see more going on than one in a soundproof box. This is something their management should change.

    But as to the staffing issue: Could be the fact that the Capitol Police pay something like $50 grand to start and easily reach $75K or so with overtime, according to on USCP officer I spoke with. And not as many drunks to deal with!

    • Westover

      I see Arlington Cops out on bike patrol pretty regularly. I guess they could do more though, but hope they don’t waste money on any more Segways.

      • Jason S.

        I’m pretty sure they are auxiliary police.

        • Matt

          I see actual, gun toting police officers riding bikes in and around Crystal City and Four Mile Run all the time

          • CW

            You see them riding “in…Four Mile Run”? They must have legs of steel after that!! :P

        • Westover

          Nope, real cops. To include one of the School Community Officers who I see a lot on the weekends. The auxiliary cops you only see at Special Events, or in their 15 year old Ford Aerostar minivan.

          • Jason S.

            Then tell the ACPD to update their page.

    • BoredHouseWife

      shhhhhhh. the evil eye is watching so they don’t have to.

    • thecharlesriver

      First of all, cars are not for protection. Cars provide greater patrol area coverage and more rapid response times to calls for police service. Obviously the more cops you have walking or riding bikes, the more cops you are going to need to cover the entire county.

      And as to your point about the staffing issue, from what I see the staffing shortage is not due to a lack of human resources, but to a lack of funding increases to keep up with rises in population. Although it’s amazing they are able to keep the quality officers they have, considering that they are continually getting their balls kicked in by ignorant, entitled, and overly demanding population of residents.

  • True

    Not enough police? Are these people serious? Arlington regularly uses two cruisers to pull people over for traffic stops. Its all about raising taxes and spending more. Always.

    • Westover

      That is a basic tactic for the officers’ safety. In other places they have two officers per patrol call. Here guys are generally on their own with backup close by. It adds a little in vehicle costs, but allows much more coverage for the manpower costs.

      • Jon

        I’m not doubting your reasoning, but I wonder what the data on officers injured or confronted on traffic stops in Arlington looks like. While it may be part officer safety, it also maybe be part job security with crime so low, kinda like when two fire trucks and an ambulance show up to a call of a cat stuck in a tree.

        • Smitty

          The officers use their judgement. Sometimes they feel the need to call for backup before approaching a vehicle, sometimes dispatch will ask if they want backup, sometimes another close officer will see the stop and volunteer to join. They have guidelines and use common sense.

          • Matt

            Why does an officer have to get hurt or killed in order to “justify” their safety measures? What’s wrong with being proactive when it comes to survival?

          • OralePues

            You are 100% right.

            I strongly recommend that everyone do 1 ride along with police. You will quickly realize the why of the many things you think silly, are not. I like to say, what’s obvious to you is just obvious to you. So go get informed.

            THAT said, I’m more ticked off they say their aren’t enough yet you have officers, not auxiliary, ticketing at the on/off ramps on 66 for freaking county decals and inspection stickers for 2-3hours in the morning. or running the speed traps on lee highway (1 mile past 66 heading towards dc). I’d rather see these officers doing something better.

          • Westover

            I have zero problem with the guys being paid by taxes ensuring the tax is paid versus having uncompensated volunteers do such a thing. Although, it is more of the role of the Sheriff’s Department to do revenue enforcement.

        • Mr. Brown

          If the stats are low, that could be a result of the preventative measures like having an extra office on the scene. These are people who put their lives on the line for our community. If they want an extra officer, don’t begrudge them. This isn’t like having two people take your order at McDonalds.

          • thecharlesriver

            Exactly. And the research supports this statement.

        • thecharlesriver

          The reality is that the stats on “officers confronted on traffic stops in Arlington” would not accurately drive tactics. There are many factors involved in making a decision to request or provide back-up to an officer on a traffic stop, the least of which is the number of officers who are confronted in Arlington on traffic stops. Actually research shows that proper tactics and police command-presence often DETER criminals from violence. Many studies have been done with criminals who assaulted or murdered police officers. In many of those cases the criminal admitted that the cop provided them with “an easy target.” I know that a lot of people think that because they watched all seasons of NYPD or Cops they can offer intelligent opinion about policing….but you can’t.

    • Brian

      This. Thanks!

    • drax

      I’ve had enough of people like you who think every single thing the government does is nothing more but a reason to tax people and live off the revenue. Cops work hard and keep us safe and they know more about it than you do.

      • Josh S

        True. True.

      • SoMuchForSubtlety

        +1000

    • thecharlesriver

      That is not done “routinely” it is done based on observations of the officer as well as information the officer receives back on the individual being stopped. You have no idea why they have the back-up in those situations, nor what they are dealing with on the streets, so until you’re out there risking your ass maybe you should just say thank you, and STFU.

      • Joe

        “I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom… I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”

        That is a quote from the bad guy in “A Few Good Men,” and it sums up your response. Maybe you should STFU, because I don’t give a flying eff what you or anyone else says, ACPD aren’t out there risking their lives everyday.

        To say that they are is the same as saying that when they pull somebody, anybody over and they are approaching the car it is the most dangerous and/or vulnerable situation because they don’t know what they are dealing with. That is utter BS. 999 out of a thousand people pulled over are just speeding, and have no intention of committing any other acts of crime or violence.

        The only real way to measure the threats to life and limb that police are under is to get statistics on losses of life and limb.

        Anything less is pre-emptive fearmongering, and we see what that gets…Cops blast some unarmed punk kid, and their excuse is, “I felt threatened.” Well if every Tom, Dick, and Harry you pull over is a threat why don’t the cops start pre-emptively gunning down everybody they interact with.

        Most people the police interact with most of the time aren’t murderers, as evidenced by zero homicides in 2 years. So why do we entrust people to protect us who assume we’re violent criminals?

        • thecharlesriver

          If you knew anything about this subject you would know that it’s the cops who become complacent, use poor tactics, let their guard down, and ASSUME that the person they are dealing with won’t hurt them who are the cops that get killed. That is a fact.

          And I think it’s interesting that you come on here lamenting about stats and then offer up anecdotal tales about police shootings. You are the typical DC area self-entitled, done-it-all, know-it-all, armchair warrior that gives this ares such a disgusting reputation.

          And no, I really don’t give a “eff” about what you think either, sweet tart.

          • Joe

            “If you knew anything about this subject you would know that it’s the cops who become complacent, use poor tactics, let their guard down, and ASSUME that the person they are dealing with won’t hurt them who are the cops that get killed. That is a fact. ”

            Yeah and? You are making my point for me. The Cops who are the biggest jerks, who think the worst of people, and accordingly treat people the worst, and potentially push up on the limits of and potentially violate the rights of citizens are less likely to get killed? No isht. But again, using that rational, maybe the cops should pre-emptively incapacitate everyone they come across. Then no cops would be killed or threatened or scared whatever the word is that is used to justify the stormtrooper police state mentality.

            6 cops in the entire history of Arlington County have been killed in the line of duty. The statistical likelyhood of getting killed while on duty as a ACPD officer is lower than the likelyhood of getting in a plane crash. But facts be damned, continue to support your police state.

            Being a police officer used to be an honorable profession, but the reality now is that the police are just a bunch of thugs with guns and badges, who really aren’t under any threat due to their “control the situation and everyone in it, at all costs” mentality, and the people who support that kind of policing.

            According to ACPD’s website, An ACPD officer hasn’t been killed in the line of duty since 1977. That means that most if not all ACPD officers have not lived through the death of an ACPD collegue. So where is the threat again?

            The police used to put their lives on the line, but now the moment they feel “threatened” they resort to the use of force. Alot of people, I imagine you are one of them, think that we (the people) shouldn’t get to apply reason to whether or not the police are justified to feel threatened. That because they are doing us the favor of “putting their lives on the line,” we shouldn’t get to exercise oversight of the way they “keep us safe.” But, using that rationale, we shouldn’t care or concern ourselves with the soldier in Afghanistan who killed a bunch of Afghans, because, hey, he’s putting his life on the line. The same could be said of teachers, aren’t they putting their lives on the line, dealing with the criminal youth of South Arlington? How about bus drivers? They drive on the roads all day, and statistically they are more likely to die in the line of duty than a police officer. Maybe we shouldn’t have anything to say about the way they drive. How about a Doctor? Surgeons hold other people’s lives in their hands, a situation that I can imagine is much more stressful than pulling somebody over. Should be abandon our expectations of their duties too?

            The idea that we should as society STFU and let these guys “police” however they want, because they are doing us a favor is effing ridiculous.

          • thecharlesriver

            It’s one thing to provide serious, research-based unbiased criticism of the management of the police department, based on data-driven problems. That’s done everyday, by a lot of people who are informed with respect to criminal justice issues.

            It’s quite another to come out as some YAHOO and just start shooting off a bunch of BS because you possess an obvious bias to the concept of policing in general based on your bratty little entitlement syndrome, or because some cop yelled at you or gave you a ticket. Boo hoo for you. You conflate incidents where individual police officers have been accused of wrongdoing with the need for back-up on certain traffic stops and think you are coming off as offering reasonable criticism? LOL. You dismiss the notion of officer safety based on your very obtuse perception of what you THINK they do and what you THINK they deal with because of what you see when you drive past one of them now and then. Did it ever occur to you that protecting oneself as a cop goes beyond merely protecting yourself from being shot or murdered? Did it ever occur to you that the “threat” might also include other forms of injury?? The research doesn’t support your assertions. Indeed the research shows that proper use of good tactics prevents officers from getting hurt. It does so in part because it sends a message to a would-be police assailant that their likelihood of success is low. It also does so in part because sound tactics allow an officer to defend him/herself when the AH does feel ballsy.

            Now please, offer some intelligent informed opinion or STFU and watch your video games. LOL

          • thecharlesriver

            Please try to stay on message as well. Have to say though, you have serious rage issues on this topic. Makes me wonder why.

  • Westover

    Other than gang violance, numbers of police do not stop murders. Thefts, robbery, even street violance, yes. But murders? Generally not.

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      As you can see in the article, we’re referring to the broader drop in crime when talking about police staffing levels, not just homicides.

  • Bluemonter

    I think some important points need to be made:

    1. We shoud increase the number of police persons. The ration really should be closer to 2.

    2. With Arlington going more urban you should see officers walking the beat…
    a. Good locations to start: Ballston Metro, Buckingham Apt. complex, Columbia Pike area, Shirlington near bus terminal and street going up to Fairlington.

    • thecharlesriver

      It’s police officers, get with the times pal. And do you have statistical analysis that supports your assertion that there should be more foot patrols? FYI: Ballston Metro is under the transit authority’s jurisdiction, Buckingham Apartments is private property, Shirlington bus terminal is also transit authority police responsibility….and as far as Columbia Pike goes, taking a cop out of a car and placing the cop on the sidewalk just eliminated that cop from responding to a police call near Barcroft when he’s walking near S Courthouse Rd. A consideration of all the relevant DATA goes into the deployment of police resources. If it were only as simply as sitting down behind a keyboard to pontificate…

  • Elmer

    Need more police? Nah. Just call the Artisphere, climb on the quarter-billion dollar streetcar or hide behind that $350,000.00 “artistic fence” around the water treatment (sewer) plant our county board approved last night.
    Talk about screwed up priorities-we got ‘em.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      ^ boring and unoriginal.

  • Juanita de Talmas

    It sounds like we have the right number of cops now. Enough with the police state.

  • BC

    I guess the Buckingham victim survived…keeping the stats at all pro levels

    • http://www.arlnow.com Lauren

      I wondered the same thing – anybody have an update on his condition or the investigation?

  • Quoth the Raven

    Officers walking the beat is a quaint notion, but I’m not sure it works these days. Just seeing an officer is no longer much of a deterrent. The officers would have to be in pairs, b/c you wouldn’t want a lone cop to walk alone – too much of a target. And an officer without a car is unable to respond to an emergency in a different place (if required). Frankly, officers in cars (or bikes, I think that works too) are required these days – they can ride alone more safely, and they can respond anywhere if they have to.

    • Westover

      Beat walking could work in a few parts of the county, but not that many. It would not be a bad thing though for them to park in neighborhoods and walk around for a part of their day’s duty.

      • Jon

        Especially in areas where there is either no relationship between, or a bad relationship between, the community and the police.

      • thecharlesriver

        I agree with this. I disagree that widespread deployment of foot patrols in Arlington County makes a lot of sense….especially in austere economic times.

    • Jason S.

      Many urban areas around the globe have beat cops.

      • Quoth the Raven

        True, and officers in England don’t carry guns. I wish that could be the case here, but it isn’t. Easily available automatic weapons, armor-piercing rounds, etc all make solo beat-walking a lot more dangerous for our police.

        • Josh S

          Are those things not available in England?

          • Quoth the Raven

            As far as I know, they are not nearly as readily available as they are here. Gun violence in the UK is far, far below what it is in the US.

          • Shooters

            In 2008 10,886 murders were commited with guns in the US
            In 2007 59 murders were commited with guns in the UK

            There are about 5 times as many people in the US than the UK, adjusting for that:

            10,886 US murders, versus 295 UK murders

            I didn’t realise the differential was quite so huge

        • Jason S.

          How many times have ACPD staff been randomly shot at while patrolling the county in the last couple of years?

          I’m curious how one declares “easily available automatic weapons”, can I just head into a gun store and buy one now?

    • OralePues

      By walking the beat that includes any form of transportation.

      i’d like to see them on the bike trails too. and not just chilling at a corner ticketing for stop sign violations. make them ride it.. that would get some of the chunky ones in shape too, save on healthcare cost.

  • Nothingeverchanges

    Kudos to Arlington police–I think we are lucky to have such a professional department.

    • CrystalMikey

      +1

      • OralePues

        +2

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          +3

  • Always Right

    I only see them pulling people over for not coming to a complete stop on 26 RD and Lynn Street. How life threatening is that ?Obviously, we are overstaffed if they are wasting our money patrolling stop signs in a non-threatening corner.

    • zzzzz

      A stop sign is a stop sign. If you don’t stop, you break the law. “Non-threatening” is not relevant.

      If you often see them at a certain intersection, then the residents there probably requested it. Which means they consider it important to the safety of their community.

      • Curious George

        Several years ago there was an issue on my street with people speeding.

        Called ACPD and a few days later they had someone out nailing speeders.

        It was awesome.

        I also see them sometimes keeping an eye on the Oakland park feed lot. Good to see that.

    • drax

      You don’t see how not stopping at a stop-sign could be life threatening?

  • brendan

    the data i’d be interested in seeing is a comparison of cops/sq mile compared to other communities with a similarly low of a crime rate… When you have unemployment as low as it is, a generally healthy economy despite what’s going on in the rest of the country, and an extremely educated population, the number of cops needed declines drastically. After taking out federal/park service property. Arlington police really only patrol about 20 sq. miles… so you average about 18 officers/sq mile. even in shifts that’s at least 2 or 3 on duty per sq. mile at a time…

    at the shooting scene last week there were easily 50 cops at the scene or searching for the suspect within 20min. From what i’ve seen… despite what the ratios indicate, their ability to respond is significantly greater than dc and other neighboring jurisdictions.

    • WeiQiang

      +1

    • Lloyd

      That means nothing. Do you think policing a square mile of cornfield in Nebraska is the same as policing a square mile of Manhattan? They base it on population for a reason.

      • Chris Slatt

        I think they’re both important numbers. Do you think policing 1,000 people on a single block is the same a policing 1,000 people spread out over 100 square miles?

        • CW

          Agreed. Which is why it was fascinating that all those bank robbers on foot over the summer were so easily able to get away.

        • Lloyd

          wow, that flew completely over your head. The point is that that ratios are completely different for urban areas vs rural areas. The ratios Arlington are using for comparison are for comparably dense areas, which is why the number of people is the scaling variable to use for setting staffing levels.

          The reason I brought up the cornfield example was to show that /sq mile is not the proper variable to use, because they are only using data from comparably dense areas, therefore you do not need to consider the /sq mile ratio.

    • db

      You have to remember not all officers are on patrol. You have detectives, supervisors and other specialty units. If you had the number of officers assigned to patrol you could figure the amount better. I am betting per shift that it is less than an officer per square mile.

      • brendan

        definitely understood. and you also have to account for unique environment we’re in with regards to potential terrorism targets and proximity to dc. i don’t know anything about this crap, but having just 20 of the 350+ officers on patrol, with detectives and farva in reserve should probably be enough to handle every auto accident and pick pocket.

        one thing tho, and this has been a serious problem in other cities, is that when you leave public safety agencies under-staff, you end up paying more than you otherwise would due to overtime. there was recently news out of new york of city workers collecting more than 200k thanks to being understaffed and requiring a ridiculous amount of over time to fill the public safety needs.

        unfortunately crime statistics and staffing have been completely politicized, just watch season 5 of the wire… across the country this fight has been going on, from San Jose to Columbus and beyond. Most PD’s are having to cut officers as municipal budgets fall apart and crime rises. We should be counting our lucky stars that we’re not in that situation.

  • JimPB

    RE: lack of relation between police force size and crime rate, seehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-petro/bringing-crime-under-cont_b_527213.html

    • Thes

      Nice chart there. In fact, it looks almost as if having more police officers *causes* higher murder rates. I wonder what it would look like if you tracked the size of Arlington’s force in terms officers per serious crime committed. I bet there are more officers available to respond to and investigate each crime than there were 15 or 20 years ago.

      • drax

        I hope you didn’t actually mean that you think more police causes higher murder rates. I hope you were just demonstrating how reading stats wrong can be misleading, like when you see a correlation between ice cream sales and hot days and conclude that eating ice cream causes the temperature to go up.

        • TCE

          … to carry your point further… if ice cream causes temperatures to go up… therefore you must assume Ice Cream causes global warming… :)

    • CW

      Textbook statistical example of cart leading horse.

  • a

    wait, wasn’t someone just shot in arlington on friday?

    http://www.arlnow.com/2012/03/09/man-shot-in-arlington/

    • Rick

      until he dies it’s not a murder.

    • OralePues

      that would be the “excellent medical care” part of the article.

  • Watching the numbers

    The story, and the Chief’s statement, is predicated on the assumption that there is a correlation between police staffing and crime levels. However, study after study has shown that there is no conclusive correlation between police levels and crime. The national crime rate has plummeted – and criminologists have yet to come up with an explanation for why. Crime rates today have dropped to the equivalent of those in the 1950′s and 60′s, and yet we spend vastly more on police today than we did then.

    In fact, the very statistic they use to make the case – police / resident ratio – shows that there is no correlation between police staffing and crime levels (DC has way more police and way more crime). The Police official in the story actually concedes this point in the quote “I’m not sure how much lower our ratio can go” – because they don’t know whether the ratio has any effect at all.

    One could, based on the decreasing crime rate, make the counter argument that we spend too much on police. This year Arlington will spend $58.5M on police, of which 90% are personnel costs.

    APD is a professional, competent and highly respected police department – and our low crime rate (whatever the reason) is to be applauded – but APD’s needs a stronger argument than ‘crime might go up if you don’t give us more people.’

    • JimPB

      Amen

    • Frida

      I disagree. The population ratio is the best indicator there is, although maybe not perfect. For hypotheticals, start at zero police. You will have crime that can not be stopped. At one officer, you begin to see improvement, and you go from there. The way you bracket your statistics you can either show loose correlation or none. It’s just the way you play with the numbers.

      Besides, I would rather they put more money into police, making sure we do not lose good candidates to other jurisdictions, than spend money on vanity art and transportation projects.

      • Thes

        We seem to be tossing around this word “vanity” like it has some established validity. Just because it’s a Republican talking point (or as Colbert would say, “truthiness”) doesn’t make it a fact.

        Rather than spend money on unnecessary or excessive police personnel, I’d rather spend it on beneficial transportation projects and helping more people in Arlington experience high quality art, theater, dance and music. Every time our police force, which has contended with no murders in two years, has a full paramilitary “swat team” drill in one of our neighborhoods, I wonder if that money could be better used to hire another bus driver, buy a new streetcar, or pay a great performing troupe to come give a nearly free show to residents.

        • Elmer

          Thes: “…spend money on high quality art, theater, dance and music”.
          I’ll subscribe to that IF it does not require my tax money.
          Otherwise, spend your own money.
          Keeping you entertained is not a necessity of life requiring public expenditures.

          • Thes

            Actually, I don’t much care to watch dancing myself, but I think a community that has high quality arts of all types including the ones I don’t particularly care for, is going to attract the kind of high quality residents that drive up my property values and is diverse, open and inclusive. Also I support innovative, high quality public transit like the ART system, which didn’t even exist 15 years ago and now serves thousands (but not including me).

          • CW

            You don’t like dancing; I don’t like having a laser sight or pair of night vision goggles trained on me 24/7. To each his own.

        • Law-Abiding Tax-Evading Speeder

          Pay for your own dance troupe. The rest of us see better things to do with tax dollars.

        • Ballstonienne

          We seem to be tossing around this word “extremist” like it has some established validity. Just because it’s a Democrat talking point doesn’t make it a fact.

          See what I did there? Welcome to politics.

          • Mr. Brown

            +1

          • Josh S

            Where was the word “extremist” used?

        • Paco Wellington III

          I am sooo glad that 80% of the people who voted in recent primary rejected these views.

    • esmith69

      Maybe criminologists haven’t come up with an explanation for reduced crime rates, but others certainly have. Look up “Donohue and Levitt Study”

  • Citizen Sane

    My comment was here, but now it’s gone. I was asking about the gentleman who was killed near Lyon Park when he was on his way to work at a fitness center? I think I’m remembering correctly. Why isn’t he counted in the homicide rate?

    • Tabs

      Carl Diener was murdered in December 2009.

      • Citizen Sane

        Thank you. It seemed more recent than that. Sorry.

        • Tabs

          I thought so too–I made a similar comment to you a while back, and arlnow corrected me.

          • Tabs

            /similar comment to yours/ I mean.

        • drax

          It seems more recent because it was only recently solved.

  • Stitch_Jones

    Drops in crime and this somehow necessitates more police? I must live near DC.

    That said, we need more foot patroling. Not bike patroling – foot patroling. The kind of policing that actually interacts with and has a stake in the community.

    Less emphasis on revenue-harvesting checkpoints might free up some officers for this type of activity.

    • Westover

      Foot Patrols and “revenue-harvesting checkpoints”, one pays for the other.

  • Curious George

    There does seem to be a lot more armed robberies/muggings in the area between Ballston and Courthouse. One of the ladies who works in my building got knocked down and had her purse stolen a block from the VSq metro.

    It seems to usually be the same category of persons committing these crimes but that is a whole other issue. Not trying to troll. Well much anyways.

    I would like to see more of a police presence around the metro station during the evening.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8PuUU6IWps&feature=youtube_gdata_player awh hells bells

      Call me old-fashioned but petty street crime against women is cowardly. While ACPD does a fair job of upholding the rule of law, some of these degenerates are unfazed by encounters with police. Charles Bronson or Rutger Hauer’s ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’ would be welcome in dispatching these street urchins with street justice.

      I believe the areas in the immediate vicinity of the Metro are under the Metro Transit Police, which are one of the most inept in the DMV LE community.

    • Yup

      Back in fall 2011 I was walking home from Clarendon towards the Courthouse metro. It was a Sunday of a 3 day weekend (Labor day I guess based on the time frame)… anyway, yes I had had some drinks with friends but I was by no means drunk. I did have on dangerously high (but very good looking) shoes. Regardless, somewhere between Whole Foods and Arlington Rooftop-ish I heard running and yelling and next thing I know I’m shoved from behind face first into one of those 2-3ft sidewalk walls. Heel of shoe broken, ankle twisted behind myself, hands couldn’t quite catch myself but tried so arms all scraped and bloody, and my front tooth completely busted and half missing. Lip bleeding uncontrollably. 3 guys kept running, no one behind them, no one out driving that saw anything and oddly for that area I saw zero people walking or out nearby. Once I sort of realized that that actually had just happened I realized that my entire clutch/wallet on my wrist had been snatched as they ran past and I’d lost everything but my phone in my back pocket (luckily not in my purse).

      People suck everywhere. Crime happens everywhere, but it’s the sometimes the petty crimes that really affect people when they’re out in mass. (ACPD were great handling everything, I have a wonderful dentist who came in on the holiday to patch me up, and the management/staff at Arlington Rooftop which happened to be the closest door open within stumbling distance was very kind and helpful.)

      • Tabs

        Yikes. I’m sorry to hear that.

  • Rick

    The County board raises taxes every year, but doesn’t maintain the pavement or pay for more police and fire? Where exactly do our taxes go?

    • Elmer

      Rick, Ask Thes. It goes for high quality art, dance, music and theater.

      • Rick

        Thanks for the clarification!

    • drax

      It’s too bad you can’t go look up the budget in a few seconds on the county website. Maybe the Internet will reach your house someday.

      • Rick

        Weak shtick. When you respond to a joke post with snarkiness it just doesn’t work

        • AllenB

          Worked for me.

          • thecharlesriver

            Don’t worry, Rick has a habit of weighing in strongly on things he has absolutely no knowledge of. And of course someone else always has to do HIS research because he has more important things to do….like worry about where gay GMU students are living on campus……without actually doing any research to find out, of course. It’s much easier to just weigh-in with strong opinions on something because the facts always get in the damned way. ;)

          • OBLIVIOUS ALL-CAPS GUY

            DUDE I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE A REPUBLICAN

        • drax

          Um, no, the weak shtick was yours. When you try to make a joke, make it actually funny. The problem is that your comment sounded normal, that is, lots of people would actually say that. To make fun of them, you have to be more outrageous than they are, and that’s tall order these days. Kick it up a notch.

    • Curious George

      Well I think by law the schools get roughly 50% of the tax revenue.

      • Rick

        47% off the top of my head but I could be a couple percent off

    • Josh S

      Why would you walk around spouting stuff you know to be only a twisted version of the truth? I have never gotten that.

      Your tax bill may have gone up, but it was not as a result of “The County board rais[ing] taxes every year.”

      • Suburban Not Urban

        If they collect more taxes per taxpayer then they are raising taxes. Your constant refrain that limited change in the taxes as a percentage of my property value is completely flawed.

        • Josh S

          Nein, fraulein. “Raising” is a verb. It requires action on the part of the subject of the sentence. The county board took no action. If your property value goes up, the increase in taxes collected has got nothing to do with “raising” taxes.

          Also, it’s not really my constant refrain. I think there are others who point out this entirely sound logical argument.

          • snitch

            It’s only brought up by you. And your drawer full of socks.

        • drax

          “If they collect more taxes per taxpayer then they are raising taxes.”

          This sums up the ridiculous, absurd thinking that prevails here.

          No, more taxes per taxpayer is not raising taxes. By that twisted logic, the county could even LOWER tax rates, and if your home value went up to a point where you still paid more in dollar terms, you’d call that a tax increase.

          Stop the nonsense.

      • Rick

        Real estate taxes are proposed to go up half a cent in FY2013, along with “modest growth” in values as detailed by the county. Out-of-county-resident-yet-county-manager Donnellan says the increased taxing of residents would be offset by a decrease in trash fees, but I doubt that holds up given the cost of fuel.

        Research is fun! It’s like college again

        • Josh S

          Is this Groundhog Day? I do believe you previously asserted that “The County board raises taxes every year…”
          Proposed FY2013 increase does not equal “every year.”

        • drax

          FY2013 is one year, not “every year.”

          • Rick

            FY 2012 average taxes were higher than FY 2011. FY 2011 Taxes were higher than FY 2010 by a significant amount. In FY 2010, the county said the property value went down 2 percent compared to FY 2008, but real estate tax went up 2 percent between 08 and 10.

            Taxes trending up, yet no tangible increase in services, just county-owned/leased real estate.

  • STee

    Indeed. Overstaffed is correct. Compare to any similar sized city and it’s probrably 15-20% higher – at our expense. We need the right sized police force – Additionally, the hours our force works is surprising compared to expectations.

    • Keith

      Funny that all readily available statistics show your estimates are completely wrong.

  • Village Genius

    I wonder if the loss of so much “affordable” housing has any correlation to the drop in crime?

    • OralePues

      so what, only poor non brown flip flop wearing people commit crimes?

      • novasteve

        If you look at all of the murder or attempted murder suspects, they have not been brown flip flop wearers. Look at every single story on here.

  • CW

    Was the original title “ACPD Tempts Fate, Invites Criminals into County”?

    I realize that they’re probably lobbying for budget money and that fearmongering (“Hey constituents, we don’t have enough cops to protect you”) is one way to do it, but it seems kind of reckless to come right out and say it.

    Also struck me as kinda macabre that Chief Scott was sitting around counting down the days to the two year homicide anniversary. Do most PDs really keep track of and commemorate these sorts of things? Was there a balloon drop? Seems rather morbid.

  • Roquer

    There are never enough cops to prevent homicides. No matter where the locale is. However, more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens will help to prevent homicides of innocent citizens.
    Guns in the hands of innocents presents another problem though. And that is homicides of criminals who attempt to injure/kill the innocents. I think only the Arlington County Board would care about that though.

  • choogirl

    I would be on board with more cops if we could get some giving out tickets to jay walkers, cars who don’t yield to pedestrians in the cross walk and cyclists who don’t follow the rules of the road. Maybe then people would start obeying the law once they realize there is a penalty for not doing so. And then I may walk/jog/drive in relative peace.

  • JohnE

    Interesting article this morning about Arlington begging Richmond to pay for another circuit court judge because they have too many court cases to try in Arlington. Arlington has the highest percentage of felonies to crimes in the state. Maybe focusing on murder rates misses the amount and severity of crime still occurring in Arlington.

    I would say the police and the courts still should be a top priority for spending above vanity projects. The county has overcrowded courts, overcrowded schools, roads in need of repair. They need to refocus on priorities.

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