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ACPD Accident Reports Go Digital

by Katie Pyzyk | September 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm | 774 views | 1 Comment

It’s about to get a little easier to access vehicle accident reports. The Arlington County Police Department is in the process of putting those records online.

Starting tomorrow, citizens and insurance companies may purchase the online reports for any accident occurring on or after Saturday, September 1.

The digitization will be done through a partnership with the Carfax Police Crash Assistance Program. Reports will be stored in a secure electronic database on the ACPD website, and will post within five to seven days of each accident.

In addition to making reports more easily accessible to the public, the new electronic system is expected to cut overhead costs for ACPD by eliminating administrative staff time needed to process each request. On average, police departments spend about $35,000 each year to manually reproduce accident reports. ACPD anticipates the new system will virtually eliminate this cost.

Residents who don’t wish to use the electronic system will still have the option to obtain accident reports by mail or in person at the police department during normal business hours.

WMATA Launches Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign

by Katie Pyzyk | April 5, 2012 at 9:32 am | 4,036 views | 90 Comments

Metro has officially embarked on an awareness campaign to fight incidents of sexual harassment against people using the system.

“This purpose of this outreach is to let people know that it’s not okay to sexually harass people on Metro,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles on WMATA’s website. “We are encouraging anyone who may be harassed to report the incident to Metro Transit Police.”

Phase one included this week’s launch of an online reporting system. Victims have the option of remaining anonymous, but all reports will be sent directly to Metro Transit Police. An email address, harassment@wmata.com, has also been set up to allow customers to send photos or video to assist in an investigation.

According to the website, reportable behavior includes “extended leering, sexual comments, indecent exposure, stalking and groping.” Even if an incident doesn’t seem like a crime, victims are asked to still report what happened so Metro can spot trends and try to prevent future crimes from occurring. Right now, WMATA does not track such statistics.

“Prior to this initiative, we were not collecting data on reported harassment that did not rise to the level of a crime,” said WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel. “Over the next few months, we will track the data, develop a baseline for future comparisons, and report statistics publicly on a quarterly basis.”

A number of Arlington incidents of harassment on Metro have been made public over the last couple of years. An apparent repeat offender at the Courthouse station was reported to police by at least one woman whom he grabbed after taking a cell phone photo up her skirt. Another apparent repeat offender has been reported at the Pentagon stop in posts on the advocacy website Collective Action for Safe Spaces.

“The changes that Metro is making to address public sexual harassment and assault is a testament to the hundreds of stories we received on our site,” Collective Action for Safe Spaces Co-founder Chai Shenoy said on WMATA’s website. “We see this partnership as a step in the right direction and a model for other transit agencies around the world to follow.”

As part of the anti-harassment initiative, soon customers will see posters for the campaign displayed on buses and in train stations. Materials will be handed out throughout the system. Metro is also working on enhancing training for its employees on the front lines.

Library Resource Helps Holiday Shopping Research

by Katie Pyzyk | December 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm | 1,001 views | 8 Comments

The Arlington County Library is offering help to those trying to comparison shop for holiday gifts. Users are able to tap into the library’s subscription of Consumer Reports.

In addition to being able to peruse hard copies of the magazine at branches throughout the county, the library is offering online access. Readers can compare the items reviewed in recent issues of the magazine, as well sift through the archives from the past four years.

Users need to enter their Arlington library card number and PIN code after clicking on the link to access Consumer Reports.

Final Version of Arlington Arts Report Released

by Katie Pyzyk | October 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm | 1,004 views | 8 Comments

The Arlington Commission for the Arts has released the final version of its report for a long-term plan, called “Arlington Arts 2030.” The report outlines recommendations for supporting the arts in Arlington over the next 20 years, replacing the previous plan that was in place since the 1990s.

The year-long process of devising the report has involved several revisions based on comments gathered at public meetings and through emails. Committee members had noted during the public meetings that although it’s difficult to predict exactly what the county’s needs will be in 20 years, Arlington has experienced a steady push toward urbanization. The report assumes such a push will continue, and therefore arts programs should expand accordingly.

The report suggests that although desire for arts has increased in the community, avenues for acquiring funding have decreased. As a result, among the more than two dozen recommended actions listed is the idea of restructuring grant programs. Other suggestions include raising funds for an arts facility renovation, revising policies for renting facilites and marketing the arts to promote audience growth.

One overall goal of the revamped plan is to offer more low-cost, easily accessible and varied forms of performing and visual arts throughout the county. Another is to improve diversity among the arts community.

Artisphere received a specific mention in the report due to the challenges it faced at the start. However, it was noted that challenges will always present themselves, making government and community support of the arts vital. Despite the initial difficulties, the report deemed the opening of Artisphere a successful first step in implementing the county’s arts vision.

You can read the entire report here.

Crime Report: Restaurant Rumbles Edition

by Katie Pyzyk | July 28, 2011 at 9:37 am | 2,745 views | 42 Comments

This week’s crime report features several incidents in restaurants.

ATTEMPT MALICIOUS WOUNDING-ARREST, 07/20/11, 900 block of N. Stafford Street. On July 20 at 7 am, two men walked out of a restaurant without paying for their bill. When confronted by the manager, one suspect brandished a knife and attempted to wound the manager. Police located that suspect. Dwight Wright Jr., 32, of Washington D.C., was charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding and Petit Larceny. He was held without bond.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY, 07/20/11, 2600 block of S. Jefferson Davis Highway. On July 20 at 2:10 pm, a man and women argued at a fast food restaurant. She threw a drink at him and brandished a small knife before leaving the area in a tan Nissan. The suspect is an African American woman in her 30’s, 5’5”, 180 lbs. She was wearing a white uniform shirt, blue uniform pants and a hat that displayed a badge.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY, 07/21/11, 5000 block of Columbia Pike. On July 21 at 10:45 pm, an unknown woman assaulted another female at a fast food restaurant. The suspect is described as a white female with brown hair and a large build wearing a blue shirt, light blue low cut pants and white and blue shoes.

Here’s a reminder that minors should be accounted for at all times.

EXPOSURE-ARREST, 07/20/11, 1200 block of N. Fillmore Street. On July 20 at 3 pm, a teenage male approached a woman he did not know and kissed her. When she pulled away, he exposed himself. A short time later, the same subject approached another woman and grabbed her shoulder. Police located the 13-year old suspect and he was released into his parents’ custody.

EXPOSURE, 07/20/11, 2700 block of Wilson Boulevard. On July 20 at 2:30 am, a woman was walking when an unknown male ran past her, exposing himself. The suspect is described as white male in his late teens with brown hair and dark rimmed glasses. He was wearing a dark colored t-shirt, jeans, and black Converse style shoes.

The rest of the report is after the jump.

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Report: Redevelopment Threatens Affordable Housing on the Pike

by ARLnow.com | July 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm | 3,277 views | 137 Comments

A new report on affordable housing in Northern Virginia suggests that the redevelopment of Columbia Pike will make it difficult to preserve affordable housing along the corridor.

The report, commissioned by the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, examined three major corridors where redevelopment is underway: Alexandria’s Beauregard corridor, Fairfax County’s Baileys Crossroads area and Arlington’s Columbia Pike corridor.

All three areas, the report says, are affordable thanks to a “lack of private investment, along with poor transportation options and infrastructure” — attributes that have made the areas undesirable to more affluent residents. Now that the Arlington County is actively encouraging economic development and planning a new streetcar line along Columbia Pike, however, the “type of households” seeking to live on the Pike will likely change, leading to “opportunities” for the owners of existing affordable apartment complexes to “reposition their properties… to attract higher-income residents.”

According to the report, there are currently 7,736 affordable, privately-owned rental units along Columbia Pike. Even with the county’s planned efforts to preserve affordable housing on the Pike, however, the report cites county projections that predict 23 percent fewer affordable units by 2040 — a loss of nearly 1,800 affordable rentals.

That loss is expected to be concentrated among the 3,344 market-rate rentals that are affordable to residents who make between 60 and 80 percent of the area’s median income (AMI). About half of the Pike’s 80 percent AMI units are projected to be lost by 2040, while the county focuses its efforts on preserving all of the 3,151 units affordable to those making 60 percent AMI or below. Meanwhile, the county is forecasting a 447 percent increase in market rate (non-affordable) units, or nearly 6,500 new units targeting more affluent renters.

The Alliance is recommending Arlington set “more aggressive targets” for affordable housing on the Pike while offering affordable housing financing that’s more lucrative than that offered by private developers. The Alliance also recommends using reduced property taxes as a “carrot” for preserving existing market-rate affordable apartments.

Crime Report: Unusual Assaults Edition

by ARLnow.com | July 7, 2011 at 8:55 am | 1,952 views | 13 Comments

In this week’s Arlington County crime report, an argument in Alcova Heights turned violent when one man threw his cell phone at another man’s face.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY, 06/29/11, 3700 block of S. 5th Street. On June 29 at 5 pm, a man threw a cell phone at another man during an argument, striking him on the face.

That same day, a suspect on a motorcycle struck a parking aide with the bike’s wheel as she was trying to write a ticket.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY WITH A VEHICLE, 06/29/11, 1300 block of S. Joyce Street. On June 29 at 9 am, a parking aide was writing a ticket when the owner of a motorcycle confronted him. The suspect left the scene on the motorcycle, striking the parking aide with the motorcycle wheel. The suspect is known.

Then, on the Fourth of July, a man wounded a movie theater employee in Ballston after he was not allowed to bring food into the theater.

UNLAWFUL WOUNDING-ARREST, 07/04/11, 4200 block of Wilson Boulevard. On July 4 at 4 pm, a man assaulted a movie theater employee when the employee would not allow him to bring food into a movie. Police located the suspect. Franklin Parker, 55, of no fixed address, was charged with Unlawful Wounding. He was held without bond.

After the jump, a more serious assault: a woman is hit in the head with a hammer after she tried to stop a vehicle break-in.

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Crime Report: Four Charged With Cell Phone Robbery

by ARLnow.com | June 30, 2011 at 8:58 am | 2,663 views | 38 Comments

How many people does it take to steal a cell phone and some cash in Ballston? Four, according to this week’s Arlington County crime report.

ROBBERY-ARREST, 06/23/11, 1100 block of N. Stafford Street. On June 22 at 11 pm, four men confronted and assaulted a man walking down the street. They stole his phone and some currency. Police located the suspects. Taha Bencherki, 20, of Washington D.C., Garland Mines, 25, of no fixed address, D’Lonte Fuller, 21, of Arlington, and Lamont Russ, 21 of Arlington, we all charged with Robbery. They were held without bond.

As always, suspects mentioned in the police department’s crime report are innocent until proven guilty. The rest of this week’s report, after the jump.

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Crime Report: Girl Touched Inappropriately

by ARLnow.com | June 15, 2011 at 10:00 am | 2,389 views | 9 Comments

Two teenage girls were the victim of perverted behavior on the streets of Arlington over the past week. Last Tuesday, according to the Arlington County crime report, a 14-year-old girl was touched by a man while she was walking home from school.

SEXUAL BATTERY, 06/07/11, 2600 block of John Marshall Drive. On June 7 at 2:30 pm, a 14 year-old female was walking home from school. An unknown male walking in front of her abruptly turned around and touched her chest. The suspect is described as a white male in his late 20′s, 5’7″ and of an average build. He had dark hair and was wearing a white t-shirt, gray mesh shorts, a white baseball cap and black sneakers.

Then, on Monday, a man exposed himself to a 16-year-old girl in Virginia Square.

EXPOSURE, 06/13/11, 3800 block of Wilson Boulevard. On June 13 at 9 pm, a 16 year-old female was walking home from work when an unknown man exposed himself in front of her. A taxi driver heard her yell and ran to assist. The suspect fled and the cab driver drove the girl to the police department. The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern or Indian male in his late 20’s, 5’8” and 180 lbs. He was wearing a light colored shirt, khaki pants, and “Crocs”.

The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.

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Crime Report: Young and Preyed Upon

by ARLnow.com | June 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm | 2,246 views | 24 Comments

In this week’s Arlington County crime report, a young woman was allegedly attacked by a man near Shirlington.

ABDUCTION-ARREST, 05/31/11, 2600 block of S. Arlington Mill Dr. On May 31 at 11 pm, a man grabbed a young woman walking and pulled her to the ground. The suspect covered her mouth with his hand, but she fought back and was able to run from the area. Police located the suspect. Marvin Mejia, 40, of no fixed address, was charged with Abduction and Assault and battery. He was held without bond.

In another incident, a teen girl was walking home when a man exposed himself to her.

EXPOSURE, 06/02/11, 1400 block of N. Jackson Street. On June 2 at 3:15, a 16 year-old girl was walking home when an unknown man sitting on the steps to a residence called out to her. When she turned to look at him, he exposed himself. The girl walked on and called her father to meet her.

The rest of the crime report, including a police chase and a bank robbery on which we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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