The Gangs of Arlington — As of 2011 there were 10 active street gangs in Arlington. According to a speaker at a panel discussion held earlier this week, the gangs often try to recruit youths who have recently immigrated to the country. Arlington, however, has an extensive gang prevention program that limits the influence of gangs within the county. [Washington Examiner]
National Drug Take-Back Day — The Arlington County Police Department will be participating in National Drug Take-Back Day next weekend. From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, police will be collecting ”expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs” — no questions asked — in an effort to prevent possible abuse and theft. Collection stations will be set up at fire stations 1, 8 and 9. [Arlington County Police]
Earth Day Twitter Chat Today — The Arlington County Department of Environmental Services is hosting a live Twitter chat on the topic of “green gardening” from noon to 1:00 p.m. today. “Join us and get answers to all of your questions related to landscaping and lawn care, native plants, and water conservation,” the county said in an email. One participant who submits a question will be randomly selected to receive a free rain barrel. [Facebook, Twitter]
An event next week will remind residents that Arlington is not without gang activity and gang-related violence.
On Tuesday, April 17, Leadership Arlington will be holding a panel discussion entitled “Arlington County Gangs: Exploring the Shadows of Our Urban Mayberry.” Part of the organization’s spring speaker series, the event will focus on “the threats that gang activity present to the Arlington community,” “contributing factors to youth participation in gangs” and “initiatives in place to address gang-related violence.”
The speakers include Robert “Tito” Vilchez of the Arlington County Task Force, a member of the Arlington County Police Gang Unit, and Meredith McKeen of Northern Virginia Family Services.
Gang activity might not be visible to many residents, but it is to many of Arlington’s youth. One in six Arlington Public Schools students know at least one person who is involved in gang activity, according to the event invitation.
The panel discussion will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the WETA building (2775 S. Quincy Street). Tickets are $40 for the general public and $30 for Leadership Arlington members. Lunch is included in the price of admission.
Illegal Gambling Bust — This morning the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force will announce that it has made multiple arrests and taken down a gang-related illegal gambling operation after a months-long investigation. Arlington County was one of the police agencies that aided the task force by assisting with the investigation and executing warrants, according to a spokesperson.
Overview of Arlington Prosecutor’s Race — In race for Commonwealth’s Attorney in Arlington, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos has far out-raised defense attorney David Deane. But Deane is hoping his stance against the death penalty will give him an edge against Stamos in the upcoming Democratic primary. [Washington Post]
An Outsider’s View of Seven Corners — To anyone who has driven far enough west on Wilson Boulevard, Arlington Boulevard or Route 7, an anecdote in this article, written by a recent Arlington transplant, will ring true. [The New Atlantis]
Notorious Salvadorian street gang MS-13 is active in Northern Virginia, which is easy to forget in the low crime environs of Arlington County. But for anyone who has walked past the old DHL warehouse between Eads and Fern Streets in Pentagon City recently, the gang’s presence has been on dispay.
This graffiti — with the words “La Mara Salvatrucha” and the number 13 — was scrawled on the side of the brick warehouse, near a heavily-traveled path that Metro commuters take to get to the eastern end of Pentagon City.
A police report was just taken and building management is now working to clean up the graffiti.
It had been there for at least a week.