News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Week in Crime: "Operation Summer Heat," at Long Last, Brings Cool-Sounding Name to Reston Anti-Gang Efforts

Guess what? Reston has a bit of a gang problem. But now Fairfax County Police are going to do something about it, with a kick-ass-sounding program called "Operation Summer Heat." Bring it on!

On Saturday, July 18, the Reston District Station will kick off Operation Summer Heat, a four-week enforcement campaign designed to address and deter criminal gang activity. In the past few months, the Reston area has experienced criminal and gang-related activity on and around various trails in the district. Countless residents use the trails and pathways for exercise, leisure and daily travel. Generally, they pass safely without incident and officers frequently patrol the paths on foot.
Well, except maybe for this guy (second item). And these folks. And... well, you get the idea.
In the first half of 2009, there were 27 total gang-related incidents in the Reston Police District down from 49 during the same time period in 2008. The police department is dedicated to keeping criminal street gangs out of the county and, as Captain Deborah Burnett, Commander of the Reston Station, put it, "Gang-related activity in Reston will not be tolerated in our communities and to show we are serious, we are turning up the heat on criminal street gangs."

In response to the recent incidents, Captain Burnett has focused on executing strategies that target gangs, identify gang members and foster awareness within communities about criminal street gangs. Patrol officers, the Neighborhood Patrol Unit and plain-clothes officers will be out in force on trails throughout Reston. Crime Prevention Officers will visit numerous residential and business communities to educate residents and business owners about the best ways to prevent crime. Captain Burnett recognizes that community support is vital "to make our efforts successful. You are encouraged to call the police any time you witness a crime or suspicious activity."
TaggingX_071509.jpgThis is all a good thing, particularly since gang activity seems to be impacting a church, of all places. Christ the Servant Lutheran Church at Hunters Woods has been plagued by graffiti, and a new law says that they'll have to foot the bill to clean it up.
As of July 1, a new state law empowers localities to charge property owners for the cost of removing graffiti drawn on private buildings, walls, fences and more. If cleanup is not paid for, localities can clean it and put a lien on the property to recoup their costs.

“We had been through a chronic graffiti problem for a while, but then we began ministering to a homeless person who seemed to be friends with the gangs in the area,” said Phillip Carl, pastor of the church.

“We think he put out the word not to tag our church, so for a great period of time we were graffiti-free. But then he moved to Philadelphia and we are not under his protection anymore so we are being tagged again.”

Carl said that the church has been ‘tagged’ at least three times in the last nine months. “Right now on the back wall, there is a drawn character and the name ‘fat-boy’.” He says it is highly visible to anyone strolling on the walkways behind the church.

In the past few years, those walkways have been the backdrop for many violent crimes, many of which police believe are gang-related.

Police have recently focused on the church, issuing them a warning.

“We recently received a note from [Reston District Station] police officer R.L. Jones, stating ‘If you do not clean, remove or cover the defacement within 15 days from the date of this notice, the defacement may be subject to the removal by the county’ at a cost to us,” Carl said.
Maybe the police can call that move "Operation Collection Plate."


13 comments:

  1. Let me get this right, the church has been sent notice to clean up the graffiti but the tags on the various garbage cans, bridges and utility "bubbles" have remained for weeks (mostly months really).

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  2. Don't say that out loud. If it's on RA property they'll get the same notice and we'll foot the bill!

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  3. The Convict in the GulagJuly 17, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    Let's see. We have wannabe artists using Krust the Loo Church as as easel. The Powers Dat Be want to use the new Wiehle Metro Station to double as an art gallery. Hmmmm. I'm sensing an opportunity here to save the taxpayers beaucoup bucks while allowing our younger citizens to vent their 'youthful exuberance'.

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  4. The Convict in the GulagJuly 17, 2009 at 10:27 AM

    BTW, do you think that's a self-portrait of the artiste?

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  5. I will help that Fairfax county police by pointing out where the gangs are mostly from.

    Black gangs location: Brenton Condos (behind the church) and Shadowoods Condos (next to 7/11 Soapstone)

    Latino gangs location: Winterthur and Spring Apartments.

    And both blacks and latinos gangs can be found in Stonegate Projects (mixing bowl).

    The police needs to focus there and at night not during the day.

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  6. Nobody likes a snitch. We fix you...

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  7. "BTW, do you think that's a self-portrait of the artiste?"

    Naw...his brain is way too big in the drawing. Then again, it does look like he has his head up his arse, so maybe yes.

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  8. I'm still waiting for my notice from the FFX County police advising of this new push. I saw the news report and strangely some of the neighborhoods bordering Winterthur haven't been advised.

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  9. The Convict in the GulagJuly 19, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    If you really want to fix the gang problems around here, we need to follow the example of our enlightened brothers to the South, Prince William County. Did any of you notice that once they started actively partnering with ICE, that las cucarachas went scurrying away. Such a solution may not solve all of our gang problems but it will help significantly.

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  10. From the Uplands of RestonJuly 19, 2009 at 10:32 PM

    Crime in Prince William County (PWC) went down 21% the year after PWC started checking immigration status on arrested individuals. Crime went up 14% in Fairfax County in the same period. There was a large migration of presumed undocumented individuals to Fairfax County. This is known because school transcripts of transfers show the original address.

    Source: Talk given by Corey Stewart, PWC Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, in the Lake Anne RCC 2008.

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  11. I live in Shadowood and I'd love for the cops to get rid of these pesky section 8 deadbeats destroying my property. They don't do anything when called. A disgrace and a shame!

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  12. My wife and I have a nickname for the grocery store in Hunters Woods...

    "Unsafeway"

    We drive to North Point for the groceries that we can't purchase in daylight.

    Its a shame that DQ is there on hot muggy summer evenings.

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  13. SouthEastRestonPunkJuly 29, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    to SouthRestonPunk: You shouldn't have to drive all the way up to North Point just to go to another Safeway! You can always go to the Safeway South Lake Village Center.

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