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Morning Poll: Is Reston a Safe Place?

by Karen Goff — December 18, 2014 at 11:00 am 1,630 22 Comments

Bank robbery at Sun Trust inside Hunters Woods Safeway/Credit: Tim BooneThree bank robberies in Reston in the last month have made some residents a little on edge.

One reader wrote to Reston Now yesterday saying this:

I’d originally planned on renting in Reston before moving to Virginia, but the posts on this page have more than changed my mind. 

I have to wonder if you’re aware of the perception outsiders have, looking in at Reston. From my view, based on this page, Reston is losing business, experiencing all types of crime, and has little if any highlights aside from the natural scenery. 

Fairfax County Police say crime in Reston is actually quite low.

For instance, FCPD’s Reston Station reported 654 assault incidents in 2013 (the most recent full year for which stats are available). That’s down from 765 in 2012, and the second lowest number of assaults among FCPD’s eight districts.

Reston’s relatively low crime rate, along with access to good jobs and schools, were among the criteria that earned it a spot in Money Magazine’s 2014 Top 10 Best Places to Live.

That is not to say Reston is crime-free. Other stats:

There were two homicides in the Reston District in 2013, the same as in 2012. In both 2013 cases, they were domestic in nature and not random crime.

Sex offenses: 32 in 2013, (30 in 2012)

Weapons charges: 58 (58 in 2012)

Property crimes: 2,527 in 2013, down from 2,705 in 2012. The 2013 number make it the second-lowest (behind the Sully District) in the county.

Some of the highlights:

  • Vandalism: 703 (899 in 2012)
  • Larceny 1,239 (1,274 in 2012)
  • Stolen cars 48 (59 in 2012)
  • Robbery 37 (27 in 2012)
  • Burglary 107 (79)

Do you feel Reston is a safe place to live? Are you concerned about crime? Take our poll.

Photo: Fairfax County Police cars converge at Safeway Hunters Woods after robbery of Sun Trust inside on Thursday/Credit: Tim Boone

  • Chuck Morningwood

    The biggest criminals in Reston isn’t the bank robbers: it’s RA.

  • Dan

    Relative to the size and population of Reston, it is very safe. However, in a fairly densely populated area there is always going to be crime. However, violent crime in Reston is fairly rare. I feel safe here.

  • Jaks

    Why not address the second part of her concern…. Why are business leaving Reston and in many cases moving next door to Herndon?

    • Dan

      For the most part, Herndon is cheaper than Reston.

    • LesAnn620

      ..

      • Cluster Tycoon

        wow. I fail to find the words to describe this post.

  • john

    metro extension = more jigs…. simple

    • Adrian Havill

      Ah, the first racial slur of the day.

    • clambj

      So I guess that explains the reason for the ever decreasing crime rate. Thanks John.

  • Adam Petersen

    I think people fail to realize the only reason it seems there is more crime or businesses leaving Reston is because we are more informed. In the 24 hour news cycle, internet, social media, and Internet based media we have more access to the information. Do you not think Herndon or any other NOVA district has crime or businesses leaving? Do you follow a Herndon, Tysons, Vienna, Sterling, or Arlington based Internet news source? Have you ever had an area based news source before? No, you used to watch DC based news channels which had to share news of all the areas. They had to pick and choose stories to follow. It’s rare Reston even makes it onto those news channels. Now you hear about anything involving Reston when you follow Reston Now. As the stats state we are actually the 2nd safest district in Fairfax in relation to assaults. Fairfax as a whole is a very safe county. Crime is actually down. Crime nationally is also down but people perceive it to be a more dangerous time but in reality you just have access to more information.

    Businesses close all the time for many different reasons. Some Reston businesses are closing because the building they are in is planning a redevelopment. There are many new businesses opening in Reston. At the town center alone in the new avant building you have World of Beer, CVS, and two restaurants preparing to open. Then there is new developments being created around the Wiehle Metro, the area surrounding Reston International Center, the redevelopment of Lake Anne, and all the new construction planned for the town center. Reston also has a high occupancy rate which is much higher than Tysons Corner. Look at the picture as a whole. People tend to pay greater attention to negative stories than positive ones.

    • Paul

      These are all very good points. The simple fact is you can go to any neighborhood or community local news source, and the types of content or coverage will be the same. Regardless of SES, crime stories, in particular, make for good coverage. Check out this piece of research from the Poynter Institute: http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/205939/crime-coverage-now-requires-constantly-feeding-the-beast/

    • TheKingJAK

      You’re correct on many accounts, and this is a significant problem in the greater United States. Travel OCONUS for a while, especially to a great location, then come back and take notice of our news. So much of our negativity emanates from an extended news cycle finding it necessary to generate news in order to boost ratings. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, and not for the better I am afraid. With that said, let us not ignore reality and completely gloss over issues which do need to be addressed.

    • Cluster Tycoon

      Great job in downplaying the security situation by ignoring the facts and stating statistics, you make everyone feel at ease and fall back into complacency.

      “we are actually the 2nd safest district in Fairfax in relation to assaults. Fairfax as a whole is a very safe county. Crime is actually down. Crime nationally is also down but people perceive it to be a more dangerous time but in reality you just have access to more information.”

      You’re funny.

      Where you get your stats from is your business but chances are: you are not a female, you’re not walking at night, you’re not considered vulnerable (say handicapped old or looking stupid). Just a guess. Merry Christmas,

  • NoShotsHere

    The reader has a point — much of what Reston Now and Patch publish is bad news. Good news isn’t news. If someone gets their information about a community solely from what rises to the top of the pile on facebook, they’ll only see one side of any story. Reston isn’t perfect, but it’s a great place to live, work and get involved. Chuck needs to try getting involved rather than taking shots at those who are working really hard to maintain this as a wonderful place for people to visit and live in.

  • ldahern

    A car has been stolen in our cluster in the last couple of weeks and someone broke into my car last week. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be until someone breaks into our home.

  • RESTON

    I think what the person writing in is trying to convey, is that the perception that this page creates of Reston can often be negative, regardless of what the crime statistics actually are.

  • Jaz

    I’m sorry…how do you see RA being criminals? I personally paid what we pay for a year every month at my former condo in Alexandria. For that our trails are cleared and maintained, grounds workers keep our common areas clear and safe, and there are people doing a lot of behind the scenes work to keep this community running smoothly. It’s not perfect, but we get a lot for what little we pay.

    • Rational Reston

      Those are all good things that RA does. But take a look at the RA budget and look at what else they are using our money on. Like when they spent over $10k on iPads for the RA board.

      Also the various Reston Clusters (more money out of our pockets) may be doing some of the services that you give RA credit for.

  • TheKingJAK

    Reston is safer than many communities which I have experience in, but there absolutely are places to avoid (Especially at night), and it has always been that way. There’s also plenty which doesn’t make the news. Use common sense and trust your instinct, both of which compose possessing overall situational awareness.

  • Dennis Defensor

    New metro stations always allow more access to everybody – new workers, services, customers and criminals. Part of the urban access package.

  • A

    Get rid of ShadoHood! I am tired of always picking up beer cans and candy wrappers! RA could care less about this. I have emailed and called with very little response.

    • Reston Watcher

      What is “ShadoHood?”

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