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Arlington County Crime Rate Drops

by ARLnow.com April 14, 2011 at 7:30 am 3,700 37 Comments

Crime is down in Arlington, the police department announced last night.

According to department statistics, the crime rate — the number of reported crimes per resident — declined by 7.6 percent from 2009 to 2010. The raw number of reported crimes, meanwhile, fell 5.9 percent.

Robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies and vehicle thefts all declined last year.  At 29 percent, vehicle thefts saw the greatest year-over-year decline.

The number of reported rapes in Arlington rose in 2010, however. There were 24 forcible rapes reported in 2010, compared to 15 in 2009 — a 60 percent increase. Detectives were able to close 87 percent of rape cases, the department said.

“I am pleased with the dedication of the officers and detectives in Arlington, and all that they have accomplished to make our county safer,” Police Chief Doug Scott said in a statement. “However, we continue to remind citizens to make smart decisions concerning their personal safety, because even one victim is one victim too many.”

  • Southeast Ben

    It’s a shame that most of these larcenies (that have gone down) still go unsolved. With the number of Arlnow articles about stolen cars, I thought that number would have been higher. I think the biggest shame is the increase in rape in the area.

    Does anyone think theses stats are “juked” like on the Wire?

  • Rape is way up.

  • wat

    What i feel is the biggest shame is that of the four that have gone up, rape is one of them, and the largest increase.

    Also, where do the flashers and ass grabbers fit in?

    Thought not a crime, I wonder what the +/- of suicides was last year. There were a lot of jumpers around, a few this year already too.

    I don’t think they look juked.

    • wat

      Also, why did they need to call it forcible rape? Is this implying that there were consensual rapes, of which the only kind I am aware of is statutory, in which case they have determined it is not possible to consent, as a minor.

      • mehoo

        If you have a better word, propose it. “Non-consensual?”

        • wat

          my point was they should have just included stats for all “rape”. leaving out statutory makes me wonder what those year to year numbers were.

          • mehoo

            Okay, that’s reasonable.

      • DT

        It is to separate it from statutory rape.

  • BoredHouseWife

    I couldn’t help but notice that rape when up by over 50 percent.

    • Southeast Jerome

      Yeah that jumped out to me too, very disturbing and surprisingly high…. glad to see that they closed almost all of the cases and got those creeps off the street and into prison

  • mehoo

    Rapes are so rare that you can’t make a long-term trend judgment based on just two prior years. The previous year they went way down. We’d need more years to establish a long-term trend and whether this is an unusual variance from it.

    • mehoo

      Okay, I looked up the historical stats here (scroll down):


      Rape has gone up and down since 1987, but there were only four previous years in that period when there were fewer than 24 rapes. So in the long run, 24 is low.

      • Hmm

        Unless you’re one of the 24 victims – then it doesn’t seem so low. Rape is up there with homicide as the least ok of these all.

        • mehoo

          Gee, really? Thanks for your contribution.

          Here’s my equally pithy retort – each victim is only raped once, so no, it doesn’t seem higher.

          • Oh, Realllly?

            I guess you’ve never heard of gang rape.

          • This post has been edited

          • mehoo

            Yeah, we’re done here.

    • CW

      Last year weren’t there a couple really oddball, once-every-decade heinous instances that may be outliers as opposed to a part of any sort of developing trend? I’m thinking of the marine kidnapper fellow for one.

      • mehoo

        Well, they still count. But my link has a chart that shows the overall trend for all crime, which is steadily down since the mid-90s. Probably the national trend too.

      • Lou

        I don’t remember all the detail of that cretin, but I think the rape(s) may have occurred outside of Arlington.

    • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

      I don’t think that rapes are rare (unfortunately), but rather that they are not always reported. Rape being what it is a number of victims do not come forward because of fear, shame, cultural reasons, etc. None of which is warranted because rape is a crime of violence and not the victims fault. So these stats I would say can not be taken as a trend even with the best of record keeping for statistics.

      Personally every time I read the crime report I don’t feel like crime is going down… I feel like its getting worse. I have a feeling that it will continue to do so as the price of gas, goods, food, etc continues to rise.

  • Arlwhenever

    Crimes are down almost ten percent over two years. That is a signficiant drop.

    What I would really like to see is data on the trend in solved cases by type. It would seem to me with all the technology that’s out there (like the license cameras and DNA analysis) the percent of solved crimes has gone up, creating more of a deterent. And if this is a trend, there could be an opportunity to shave police staffing.

    • NauckNeighbor

      Exactly. Crime is low and has always been low, yet we still have approximately 320 employees of the Arlington County Police Department (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on the number, going off of an old article)for 26 square miles. From a previous Arlnow article most calls to the police involved zoned parking and parking limits. The schools, libraries and other government departments need additional staff, so I’m sure it would have little effect on the crime rate of Arlington if we reduced police staffing and funded other community needs based programs.

      • Lou

        Don’t forget, they are enforcing Use Permit violations. Live music, checking vendor carts for proper papers, etc.

        • ArlGal

          And confiscating and throwing away sidewalk signs.

          • Bob

            The police do not handle those calls (signs and other such code violations). They are strictly Code Enforcement matters.

      • Thes

        Can you provide a link to the article about how “most” calls to the police were about parking? Does that figure include the just regular police calls or also the police auxiliary/special enforcement (i.e. meter maids and crossing guards)?

        • NauckNeighbor

          I can’t find it on Arlnow but I’m positive I read it here because I found it so humorous that the majority of calls were for insignificant matters such as parking. I just moved here from DC where most calls are usually assaults, rape or murder.

          PS-I see all the bashing of South Arlington on here and find it absurd. Nauck is an incredible neighborhood where the neighbors actually talk to and look out fror each other. The so called “high crime areas” (if people want to include Nauck) of Arlington are still safer than any part of Washington DC.

          • Lou

            Nauck, aka Green Valley, used to be a rough place and probably still has some stigma on it to people lived here when it was different.

            It’s the site of the only full scale riot I can ever recall in Arlington (late 80’s), as well as some brutal murders around the same time (Champion Billiards manager getting stabbed, etc.) The worst times coincided with the height of the crack dealing empire in DC, which is probably no coincidence.

          • Like police work most anywhere, many of the calls in Arlington are for minor matters. But that’s not to say that the majority are about parking.

      • DT

        If they only put officers in the high crime areas of the county (Nauck being one), that would probably lower the crime rate even more. I am sure you wouldn’t approve though.

      • mehoo

        Or you could put it this way:

        “Crime is low and has always been low, BECAUSE we have approximately 320 employees of the Arlington County Police Department…”

      • Bob

        Define “always”… and in comparison to? DC, PG, or Fauquier County? Low crime in a jurisdiction immediately adjacent to crime hot spots like the first two suggested jurisdictions does not just magically occur… >head in the sand<

  • April

    “Forcible Rape” has been redefined several times over the past two decades by legislation and the criminal justice system.

  • The Pikester

    The crime rate by men dressed as women is up.

    • G::TheNativeArlingtonian


  • Check, Please

    The crime category names are established by and reported to the DOJ/FBI. No other LE agency has the ability to reclassify or rename any type of offense…. As for rape, suffice it to say that all sexual crimes involving a non-consensual victim are heinous (yes, I am personally of the opinion that sexual offenses where all involved persons are of age and consenting are not necessarily heinous)… However, most rapes (forcible or not) involve an offender and victim who are acquainted… I offer this not to minimize any crime, but rather to remind those concerned with the increase in reported forcible rapes that it should not be interpreted as an increase in non-acquaintance rape. Both are heinous, but the latter tends to raise unjustified alarm when it might not be warranted. I don’t know of any specific communal or societal factor that can be pointed to as a contributing factor in any year to year increase or decrease in rape by an acquaintance. Rather, I suspect it is a random anomaly that will never follow a predictable trend or pattern.


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