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Arlington County police responded to several shots fired calls on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

No one was reported to have been injured in any of the three incidents of gunfire. The first happened in the Arlington View neighborhood, between Columbia Pike and I-395.

From an ACPD crime report:

SHOTS FIRED, 2022-12310180, 1500 block of 11th Street S. At approximately 6:10 p.m. on December 31, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, it was determined the victims were inside their residence when they heard what appeared to be shots fired. Responding officers recovered evidence confirming shots had been fired and located property damage to the exterior window and interior wall of the residence and a vehicle parked outside. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

The next incident happened 24 hours later, on New Year’s Day, in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood just south of I-395.

SHOTS FIRED, 2023-01010187, 1400 block of 28th Street S. At approximately 6:10 p.m. on January 1, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard. During the course of the investigation, responding officers recovered evidence confirming shots had been fired in the area. No injuries or property damage was reported. The investigation is ongoing.

The third happened later that night in the Penrose neighborhood, between Columbia Pike and Route 50.

SHOT FIRED, 2023-01010233, 500 block of S. Veitch Street. At approximately 9:34 p.m. on January 1, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim had returned home after an extended absence and observed damage to a bedroom. Responding officers recovered evidence confirming a shot had been fired and located property damage to a ceiling within a bedroom. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

Separately, a juvenile female suspect is alleged to have shot two people in the Crystal City area with a water pellet gun on New Year’s Eve, in yet another drive-by incident.

ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2022-12310181/12310186, 1200 block of Crystal Drive/3500 block of S. Ball Street. At approximately 6:12 p.m. on December 31, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious vehicle. The investigation indicates unknown female suspect(s) discharged a water pellet gun from a vehicle, striking at two victims. The victims did not require medical attention. The suspect vehicle is described as a silver or gray sedan.

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Raging rapids and minor flooding along Gulf Branch in North Arlington after heavy rain, August 2020 (file photo)

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has secured $2.25 million in federal funding for stormwater infrastructure projects in Arlington.

The funding was part of a bipartisan omnibus government funding bill that passed the House of Representatives and the Senate last Thursday, three days before Christmas.

“I am proud to announce that bipartisan legislation which will soon pass into law includes funding I secured for worthy projects in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax County,” Beyer said in a statement.

The omnibus appropriations bill helps pay for each of Beyer’s fifteen community project funding requests. Four requests were partially funded in Arlington.

It awards $750,000 for stormwater projects in the Gulf Branch watershed downstream of Military Road and in the Lower Long Branch Watershed along S. Walter Reed Drive. These will include a mix of “gray” infrastructure, such as culverts and storage tanks, and “green infrastructure,” or nature-based solutions.

“The Project will treat and store polluted stormwater runoff, reduce impervious coverage, and mitigate climate vulnerability,” the county said in its request, reprinted on Beyer’s website.

Another $1.5 million will fund rehabilitations of segments of two sanitary sewer interceptor pipes. Interceptor pipes “intercept” the flow from smaller pipes and funnel stormwater and sewage to a treatment plant.

The county requested $2 million to rehabilitate 5,876 linear feet of a 30-inch pipe that runs from Arlington Blvd to Sparrow Pond. The pond is slated to be rehabilitated next year. The pipe, constructed through the Four Mile Run stream valley in 1975, serves the East Falls Church neighborhood as well as parts of the City of Falls Church and Fairfax County.

The county also requested $1.68 million to rehabilitate a 2,906-foot section of a large but decrepit pipe in order to “support continued growth in the Rosslyn area.”

“The subject sewer was originally constructed in the 1930s,” the county said in its request. “It was most recently inspected in 2017 and many sections were deemed to require immediate rehabilitation due to structural deficiencies which allow for significant infiltration and inflow and could lead to structural failure.”

In his statement, Beyer thanked his fellow representatives for enacting the legislation and the local leaders who identified and developed the requests.

“This project funding will make our community healthier, support clean energy, boost our transportation infrastructure, support affordable housing, feed the hungry, and help improve law enforcement transparency,” he said.

Additionally, the omnibus appropriations bill included language to officially rename North Arlington Post Office after letter carrier Jesus Collazos, who emigrated from Colombia in 1978 and served 25 years as a USPS postal carrier in Arlington before losing his life to COVID-19 in June 2020.

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Two people were rescued from a precarious situation in Glencarlyn Park on Friday.

The driver of an SUV reportedly mistook the gas for the brake in the parking lot of the Long Branch Nature Center, sending it over an embankment and nearly into the creek below.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene around 8:30 a.m. They stabilized the vehicle before helping the two people inside get safely back up to level ground. They were both taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Arlington County has seen several vehicles driven or nearly driven into creeks over the years, including in 2018 along Columbia Pike and in 2019 in Bluemont Park.

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Another airbag theft spree has happened in Arlington.

The spree was reported to police Thursday morning in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood. Airbags were stolen from nine Honda vehicles, according to Arlington County police.

Dozens and dozens of such thefts have been reported so far this year. The latest thefts happened on the same week that ACPD announced the arrests of two airbag theft suspects.

More from an ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series) (Late), 2022-11170051, 2600 block of S. Vance Court. At approximately 7:24 a.m. on November 17, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. The investigation determined between approximately 4:00 p.m. on November 16 and 7:24 a.m. on November 17, the unknown suspect(s) forced entry into approximately nine vehicles and stole the airbags. The vehicles are all described as Honda models. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

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Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

Airbag theft has been an ongoing problem this year in Arlington, but police just put two alleged thieves behind bars.

The arrests happened early Sunday, after three vehicles were damaged and two had airbags stolen along the 2100 block of Columbia Pike, two blocks east of Bob & Edith’s Diner.

Police say they were able to locate the suspects in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood based on a description of their vehicle given by someone who called to report the thefts. The suspects, ages 25 and 43, are now facing a variety of charges.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Series), 2022-11130036, 2100 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 3:03 a.m. on November 13, police were dispatched to the report of larcenies from auto just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined unknown suspect(s) had allegedly smashed the windows of three vehicles, stole airbags from two of the vehicles and fled the scene in a white sedan. A lookout was broadcast based on information from the reporting party and officers located the suspect vehicle at 28th Street S. and 26th Street S. Officers conducted a traffic stop and the two vehicle occupants were taken into custody without incident. Upon a search of Suspect One incident to arrest, a glass breaking tool was located. Upon a search of the suspect vehicle, burglarious tools, a radar detector and air bags were recovered. [A suspect], 25, of Manassas, Va. was arrested and charged with Destruction of Property (x3), Tampering with Auto (x3), Grand Larceny (x2), Possession of Burglarious Tools, Possession of Stolen Items with the Intent to Sell, Conspiracy to Commit Larceny (x2), Carrying a Concealed Weapon and Possession of Radar Detector. [A suspect], 43, of Manassas, Va, was arrested and charged with Destruction of Property (x3), Tampering with Auto (x3), Grand Larceny (x2), Possession of Burglarious Tools, Possession of Stolen Items with the Intent to Sell and Conspiracy to Commit Larceny (x2).

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Trees in Arlington (staff photo)

A new program seeks to increase equity in Arlington by planting more trees in certain neighborhoods.

The local non-profit EcoAction Arlington announced that it’s starting the “Tree Canopy Equity Program” with the goal of raising $1.5 million to fund planting at least 2,500 trees over the next five years in local neighborhoods that have too few.

Insufficient tree canopy is closely tied to heat and temperature increases. The reason certain areas of Arlington are hotter than others, like the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, is due in part to lack of trees, recent data shows.

“The neighborhoods most impacted by insufficient tree cover are communities with higher-than-average minority populations and communities with people living in poverty,” EcoAction Arlington said a press release. “The lack of trees has a real-world impact that can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes, higher utility costs, and a lower quality of life.”

The ten civic associations and neighborhoods that the program will work with are below.

  • Arlington View
  • Aurora Highlands
  • Buckingham
  • Columbia Heights
  • Glebewood
  • Green Valley
  • John M. Langston Citizens Association (Halls Hill/High View Park)
  • Long Branch Creek
  • Penrose
  • Radnor/Fort Myer Heights

The current levels of tree cover in those neighborhoods is between 17% and 33%, according to EcoAction Arlington.

“The goal is to radically increase tree planting in the neighborhoods with the lowest tree cover to align with the average for other Arlington communities of approximately 40 percent,” the press release says.

EcoAction Arlington executive director Elenor Hodges tells ARLnow that that the group has already begun to plant more trees. That includes American hornbeams, pin oaks, river birch, sugarberry, American sycamore, swamp white oak, and American linden.

The program needs about $150,000 a year to cover operations, marketing, staffing, and the actual planting of trees, Hodges says, with each tree costing about $500 to plant.

Amazon, an inaugural sponsor, has already contributed $50,000. The goal is to raise $1.5 million from other corporate and individual donors, while also obtaining funding from Arlington’s existing Tree Canopy Fund Program. This initiative allows neighborhood groups, owners of private property and developments, and places of worship to apply to have native plants or trees planted on their property.

Residents in neighborhoods lacking sufficient tree canopy note that the the problem is often tied to the construction of large, new homes and not prioritizing trees while building.

“As we lose trees due to infill development of large homes on lots in our neighborhood, they need to be replaced and even expanded,” John M. Langston Citizens Association president Wilma Jones tells ARLnow. “We all know that trees give off oxygen and they reduce stormwater runoff.

Natasha Atkins has been a resident of Aurora Highlands for nearly four decades and has “watched with alarm” the number of trees lost to homebuilding projects.

“With the County’s zoning code, requiring only very small setbacks for residential housing, it is questionable whether there will be much of a tree canopy in the future in the single-family neighborhoods that are being redeveloped,” she says. “Trees are an afterthought in planning and zoning. They should really be a driver.”

Hodges concedes that planting 2,500 more trees over the next five years will only “make a dent” and it will take tens of thousands of trees for all these neighborhoods to reach the 40% tree canopy threshold.

But the Tree Canopy Equity Program is just as much about what one can do today as what one can do tomorrow, says Hodges.

“It’s about behavioral change and teaching people about the importance of having a sufficient tree canopy in Arlington,” she said.

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Morning Notes

SoberRide vehicle in Clarendon on Cinco de Mayo (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Interim Economic Development Chief — “Today, I am pleased to appoint Shannon Flanagan-Watson as the Interim Director of Arlington Economic Development (AED), effective May 31. Shannon brings 28 years of combined experience working in and with local governments on a range of professional local government management and policy issues.” [Arlington County]

Shot Fired in Long Branch Creek — “1400 block of 28th Street S. At approximately 1:09 a.m. on May 5th, police were dispatched to multiple reports of shots heard in the area. Police canvassed the area and recovered evidence confirming a shot had been fired. The preliminary investigation indicates a verbal altercation between two subjects may have preceded the discharge of a firearm. No injuries were reported, and no property damage was located.” [APCD]

Netherlands Carillon Dedication — “Today, the National Park Service and Netherlands Embassy celebrated the 77th anniversary of Liberation Day and the end of a four-year restoration of the Netherlands Carillon. This celebration included remarks from Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands André Haspels and National Park Service Director Charles F. ‘Chuck’ Sams III.” [Press Release, NBC 4]

More Funding for Metro Entrance? — “Additional financial support for Arlington County’s proposed west entrance to the Ballston-MU Metro station looks to be on the horizon. A recommendation from staff at the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission puts the request for an additional $4.5 million near the top of the list for regional projects that would be part of fiscal 2023-24 funding through the ‘I-66 Commuter Choice’ program.” [Sun Gazette]

Trying Out the Upton Hill Ropes Course — “Waiting in line to jump from the 50-foot apex of Climb UPton, Northern Virginia’s new ropes course, and trying desperately not to look down, I overhear three 10-year-old girls in front of me. ‘Are you scared?’ one asks… The $1.3 million ropes course opened last summer in Upton Hill Regional Park and is run by NOVA Parks. I recently attempted it on a sunny spring Saturday.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Reminder: Malibu Barbie Truck’s Visit — “On Saturday, May 7, the ‘Barbie Truck Totally Throwback Malibu Tour’ is planning on setting up shop at Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) in the courtyard near DSW shoe store. The truck will be selling ‘retro-inspired’ Barbie merchandise — like Barbie logo embroidered denim jackets and Malibu Barbie necklaces — from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [ARLnow]

It’s Friday — Rain throughout the day. High of 65 and low of 58. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:07 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) The neighborhoods around Gunston Middle School have again been the scene of a significant series of thefts from vehicles.

Thieves have repeatedly targeted the residential areas along 28th Street S., which connects the Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods, over the past month.

The latest involved the early morning theft of airbags from around 20 Honda vehicles, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report. Airbag thefts were also reported in the nearby Aurora Hills neighborhood, not far from Crystal City.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Late) (Series), 2022-04280050/04280074, 1400 block of 28th Street S./600 block of 26th Street S. At approximately 5:47 a.m. on April 28, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that between approximately 4:49 a.m. on April 27 and 5:36 a.m. on April 28, the unknown suspect(s) forced entry into approximately 20 vehicles, all identified as Honda models, and stole airbags. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

It the third such reported theft series in the neighborhood in April. Others include:

  • Five vehicles were rummaged through after windows were smashed in Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge on April 25
  • At least one catalytic converter theft (out of three reported total) on April 20
  • Three vehicles were rummaged through after windows were smashed in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood on April 14

In November, sixteen vehicles in Long Branch Creek had their windows smashed in one presumed overnight crime spree.

Asked about the thefts and what specifically is being done in these neighborhoods to prevent additional crime sprees, a police spokeswoman provided some general information.

“Larcenies from auto, including thefts of airbags, catalytic converters, tires and rims, as well as thefts of valuables/keys from unlocked vehicles are recurring local and regional crime trends,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “As time and resources permit, officers conduct extra patrols in the areas of reported incidents.”

“The department’s efforts are enhanced by the active involvement of the community,” she continued. “Community members observing in-progress criminal activity should report for police investigation by contacting the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or dial 9-1-1 in an emergency.”

Savage also provided the following prime prevention tips.

Officers continue to share crime prevention information, including information on the 9 P.M. Routine, with community members and organizations in the areas of these incidents.

Additional crime prevention information related to larcenies from auto include:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park. Pull on the door handle to verify it’s locked.
  • Park in well-lit areas and activate exterior lights at your home.
  • Take all valuables out of your vehicle.
  • Do not leave your keys, key fobs, or valet keys in your vehicle. This includes keys to a secondary vehicle.
  • Participate in the #9PMRoutine and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do so too.

A follow up inquiry with Arlington County’s communications staff, with questions specific to the affected neighborhoods, yielded more detail about local outreach efforts.

“The incident summary from the Daily Crime Report and crime prevention tips have been shared by the ACPD Community Engagement Division with all civic association presidents as well as on all areas on Nextdoor,” wrote Bryna Helfer, Assistant County Manager and Director of Communications and Public Engagement. “This includes Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge civic associations as well as other areas in the County as [larcenies from auto] have been reported in nearly all neighborhoods across Arlington, typically during the overnight hours and can occur on any day of the week.”

ARLnow has not received a response to questions sent to the email address for the Long Branch Creek Civic Association. The neighborhood association’s Facebook page has been inactive for several years and its Yahoo Groups page appears to have been taken down.

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Police cars (file photo)

Arlington County police are investigating a series of several catalytic converter thefts.

The three vehicle break-ins and thefts were reported early Wednesday morning in three south Arlington neighborhoods: Pentagon City, Long Branch Creek and Columbia Heights.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

GRAND LARCENY AUTO/LARCENY FROM AUTO (Late) (Series), 2022-04200038/04200039/04200069, 1400 block of S. Walter Reed Drive/1500 block of 28th Street S./Army Navy Drive at S. Lynn Street. At approximately 5:45 a.m. on April 20, police were dispatched to the late report of a grand larceny auto in the 1400 block of S. Walter Reed Drive. Upon arrival, it was determined that between approximately 7:00 p.m. on April 19 and 5:45 a.m. on April 20, the unknown suspect(s) stole the victim’s vehicle, which was later recovered in the 1600 block of S. Edgewood Street, broke the front passenger window and stole the catalytic converter. During the course of the investigation, it was determined two additional vehicles had front windows broken and the catalytic converter stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

A series of eight catalytic converter thefts was reported last month in the Fairlington neighborhood.

There have been numerous reports over the past few months of a rise in catalytic converter thefts in the D.C. area. The exhaust emission control devices are a popular target for thieves because they contain several valuable precious metals.

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Sixteen cars had windows smashed in the Long Branch Creek neighborhood earlier this week.

The smashing spree happened Monday morning along a two block stretch of S. Adams Street, in the neighborhood that’s located roughly between Pentagon City and Shirlington.

The suspect (or suspects) appears to have rummaged through the vehicles but no items were reported stolen.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Series), 2021-11150063/11150074, 2600 block and 2700 block of S. Adams Street. At approximately 10:26 a.m. on November 15, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property in the 2700 block of S. Adams Street. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim observed the front passenger window to her car had been smashed, but no items appeared to have been stolen. During the course of the investigation, seven additional vehicles were discovered to have had their windows smashed. At approximately 11:22 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property in the 2600 block of S. Adams Street. Upon arrival it was determined that eight vehicles had their windows smashed and items rummaged through. No items were reported stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

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(Updated 4:25 p.m.) Local firefighters handle all sorts of hazards. Today, one such hazard was a flaming pile of garbage.

The rubish’s rapid oxidation happened around noon today in front of Gunston Middle School, near Arlington Ridge. The blazing bags of refuse were reportedly dumped by a trash truck after the driver noticed smoke and flames coming from the back.

“He dumped his load that was on fire,” a witness tells ARLnow. “He did the right thing. Saved his truck.”

The quick thinking spared the truck and a bigger conflagration, but it left big mess in the Gunston parking lot. Arlington and Alexandria firefighters worked to douse the combusting crud, leaving a soggy heap of waste to be cleaned up.

The trash fire, no doubt seen by a metaphor by some, was caught on camera by Washington Post media reporter Jeremy Barr.

Arlington County police blocked S. Lang Street, in front of the school, during the firefighting effort. A fire department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

Later this afternoon, the county’s Department of Environmental Services shed some light on what likely caused the fire — rechargeable batteries tossed into a recycling bin — and provided some advice on how to properly recycle such batteries.

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