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Police, Leaders Step Up Safety Plans For Hunters Woods Village Center

by Karen Goff — May 8, 2014 at 10:00 am 7 Comments

Plantings are now lower to discourage criminal activity at Hunters Woods

If you see something, say something.

That’s the message Fairfax County Police, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, and officials from Cornerstones, Reston Association and Reston Community Center want to get across to residents who live near Hunters Woods Village Center.

Those organizations have been meeting with Hunters Woods businesses since last summer in an effort to make the neighborhood safer — or at least more appealing. On Wednesday, they met with citizens to hear their concerns and communicate plans to make the village center safer.

“What we found when we began addressing issues is it is a lot about perception,” said Katy DeFoe, crime prevention specialist for Fairfax County Police’s Reston District Station. “What we heard was a lot of things are happening, but there are not a lot of calls for service.

“We will come if you call us,” she told the citizens at a forum at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods on Wednesday. “Call the police non emergency number (703-691-2131). What should you report? Anything out of the ordinary. A group of people standing outside store? Call us. If someone approached you and asked for money, call us we will check it out. Think someone stole something? Call us.”

Fairfax County Police stats show that in the last 12 months, 36,114 major crimes have been reported countywide. In area 530, where Hunters Woods is located, there have been 129.

At Hunters Woods Village Center itself, 45 larcenies, four robberies, eight assaults and three drug violations were reported, DeFoe said. There are also dozens of “nuisance crimes” such as public intoxication, panhandling, and public urination, she said.

Police said they will be increasing their presence this spring with bike patrols and extra patrols on the Reston Association paths near the plaza. Safeway and Edens, the owner of the shopping center, will also maintain a “no trespassing” list of people who have caused trouble. RA is planning to install extra lighting on the paths by the end of the summer, says Larry Butler, Parks and Recreation Director.

“We know there is an issue, said Ken Bain, assistant commander of the Reston District Station.  “We were hammered here last summer. We won’t let that happen again this summer. We have a commitment to this area. We are not going to let it decline any further.”

Still, Hunters Woods residents — many of whom are elderly and live at the nearby Hunters Woods Fellowship House — are scared.

One Fellowship House resident said she witnessed a drug arrest on the plaza Wednesday morning.

“Four police cars were here,” she said. “The one person you did not get — the leader, the mule — was sitting in the lobby [of RCC] when we came in. They live in the trees over there. We have to get to Safeway somehow. When you have an entire building of senior citizens who do not have the strength to fight back, we are concerned how we are going to get around.”

DeFoe said the person committing the crime was charged and taken to jail. The others nearby were not committing a crime, she said.

“Truly, one person was causing a problem,” she said. “The other individuals were not doing anything of a similar nature. … Just because they were hanging out in the woods, they were not committing a crime.”

Another Fellowship House resident said she was concerned about the homeless allowed to camp out on the grounds of the Christ the Servant Lutheran Church on the plaza.

“Can they sleep inside?” the resident asked. “There would be less issues.”

DeFoe said the crimes are generally not committed by the homeless people. Carl said the three men who live in tents behind the church have lived on church property for more than a year without an issue. They were sleeping in the HVAC enclosure until about five weeks ago, when county fire officials said that was a hazard.

“Our goals for these three individuals is … to get them into homes,” Carl said. “If any are causing a threat to anyone we need to deal with that appropriately.”

There will be an additional community forum at 2 p.m. Saturday at Christ the Servant Church, 2320 Hunters Woods Plaza.

  • Leila Gordon

    Thanks, Karen; great recap of the meeting. Just one clarification: the meeting on Saturday is scheduled at Christ the Servant Church; they are right next door to us.

    • Karen Goff

      Sorry about that. Will fix it now.

    • John Lovaas

      Community policing, bicycle patrols seem to have been effective in the case of Lake Anne. Community meetings such as that reported above which include CORNERSTONES and others really in touch with people in the area help all better understand the real problems. No need for heavy-handed over-reactions. Well done!

      • Dexter Scott

        We’ll just tell all the bums and drug addicts to congregate outside your house, and see how long it takes for you to scream for some “heavy-handed over-reaction”.

      • taffytoo

        talking about Lake Anne .different in Hunters Woods..Sad that Erica’s situation is ignored..Police chief may need to get involved,to see for himself..Interview Erica …personally..No one should have to put up with this…

        • Mike M

          It does sound like Erica has a front row seat on THE problem. If you live in that vicinity you must see lots. I only visit occasionally and I have seen a few things. I have NO CONFIDENCE that the police would respond quickly to a call nor take anyone into custody. The problems are known. The problems persist.

  • Erica spray

    We have lived across the Community Center for over 10 years, Reston police is very efficient when it comes to put speed traps and hide with their speed guns behind the trees. When it comes to protect law obeying citizens it’s a different story, we once where assaulted after a school parade by two guys throwing cans at a crowd of mainly children and their parents, they even pull out a knife when confronted. 45min. Later police a officer shows up, upset that we confronted the aggressors asking them to leave. We later spotted the criminal and gave the police pictures and location. When they came they found the description match plus they found the knife but since the officer that came initially did not report the case it was only considered disturbance of peace, the criminal had such a long record of misdemeanors police felt he did not deserved another one I guess. Similar situation happened just a few weeks ago when someone jumped our gate and took 2 bikes out of it. We knew someone who walks by might have taking it so driving through neighborhoods we spotted one of the bikes, contacted the police, presented prove of ownership, showed them where they entered our home, police did not take it serious and justified the criminals actions as he did not have a record. Reston police, shame on you!
    Reston police protect the criminals and treat law obeying citizens like criminals. I will move out as soon as I can afford it.

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