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Police Captain: Apparent Increase in Reston Crime More Perception Than Reality

by Dave Emke September 14, 2017 at 11:30 am 32 Comments

As reports of burglaries, car break-ins, gunshots and more in Reston have led some residents to believe the community has become more dangerous, its top police officer says that’s not the case.

“I think it’s perception, because I’m not seeing [an increase in crime] statistically,” said Capt. Ronald T. Manzo, commander of FCPD’s Reston District Station, speaking to Reston Now after a community presentation Wednesday in Herndon. “Reston is a safe community. Fairfax County is a safe county.”

Manzo said it is important to keep perspective, as the number of crimes that take place within the Reston District Station is relatively small.

“There could be a 100 percent increase because there was one burglary [in a neighborhood] last year and there’s two this year,” Manzo said.

Police statistics for 2016 that were released earlier this year did show decreases in assaults, burglaries, larcenies, vandalism and vehicle thefts from the previous year. There were, however, big increases in drug and weapon law violations.

Manzo said an uptick in reports of night-time gunshots in areas including South Reston and Lake Anne has been noted by police, and they are serious about investigating and keeping a record of such incidents.

“I still ask for your help — if you hear something that sounds like a gunshot, call,” Manzo said to residents during his presentation. “We need to know.”

An afternoon gunfight near the Southgate Community Center last weekend also raised eyebrows and concern in the community. Manzo said there will be more information released about that incident soon.

The captain said one crime that is on the rise is larcenies from vehicles. While he said in some cases this is the result of brazen or clever criminals, in many it’s as simple as residents neglecting to lock their doors.

“They’re walking up and down, [and] they pull on door handles,” Manzo said. “If you’re not locking your car, they go in there, they go through it.”

Residents can sometimes spot these door-to-door criminals with security cameras, Manzo said, and he encourages anyone who gets such footage to share it with police.

But Manzo said it’s not just the car that’s at risk. If a criminal finds a garage-door opener inside, they have access to the house as well.

“We’re trying to motivate the public to take ownership and lock your doors,” he said. “Don’t leave your GPS up on the windshield, don’t leave valuables in the car. Try to be less of a victim.”

Manzo said he doesn’t believe there is an uptick in home burglaries in the area, though. Rather, he said, he believes their frequency has “plateaued.”

The captain said that as the agency and the media become more thorough about reporting incidents around the community, it can make it seem as though crime is running wild. But he insists that is not the case.

“It’s more of an awareness. We do things like Nextdoor, putting the message out to the community when we have issues and stuff like that,” Manzo said. “Reston is a great community. I love being the commander of Reston and I feel like I’m part of the community.”

Anyone with information about crime in Reston should call FCPD at 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

  • Feh

    The captain said one crime that is on the rise is larcenies from
    vehicles. While he said in some cases this is the result of brazen or
    clever criminals, in many it’s as simple as residents neglecting to lock
    their doors.

    But muh victim-blaming!

  • Anonymous Person

    Seeing a lot of victim blaming by telling them to be accountable for their behavior.

    I have a right to act as I see fit and not be a victim of crime. Telling me otherwise is victim-blaming.

    • RestonAssurance

      If we quantify victim blaming, those victims who do not lock their doors and that do leave valuables in sight can’t quite be compared to those victims who did lock their doors and kept valuables out of sight. The latter greatly reduced their chance for victimization especially with opportunistic criminals.

      • Mike M

        And yet we have no numbers on this. Only hearsay?

        • Tom Mccauley

          This is one angle to consider—-a crime vs an incident report. If police are called for reports of gunfire, as they were several nights ago in S Reston, and no evidence or suspects can be found, it is an incident report. It is not a crime. The woman who rightfully called in that report experienced an incident, not a crime/arrest. My guess is that her perception is crime is on the increase. The Captain counters that stats show no evidence of such.

        • RestonAssurance

          The weekly reports show a pattern for vehicle larcenies and this crime increasing so I’d say no hearsay. The common sense of locking doors and keeping valuables out of sight makes one less of a target by opportunistic criminals.

          • Mike M

            I meant does the Captain have numbers on which crimes were enabled by laxity and those not? Could he possibly really know? Yet he speaks freely about it.

    • Why do you bother?

      There is a legal concept called “damages mitigation”. It’s not “victim blaming” to remind people to lock their car doors in unsecured parking areas, it’s common sense.

    • PGG

      Making intelligent suggestions is not victim blaming. This isn’t 1890 anymore. We have a right to want to leave our doors unlocked, our bikes on the street, etc., but it is still naive to think your property or you are safe, just cause it’s your right. He’s trying to help, that’s all.

    • Feh

      If you act stupidly and irresponsibly, thus increasing the chances you are a crime victim, we have the right to tell you that you are stupid and irresponsible.

  • Mike M

    “Try to be less of a victim.”

    And yet if I take a baseball bat to a perp, I will be the one to lose at the hands of such a gold-plated and out-of-touch police force. The only weight of justice that perp will feel is what he got from me.

    I find that the most insulated cops believe that all crime is reported and only reported crime matters. I also believe that Captain Manzo gets direct or indirect orders from Cathy Hudgins.

    • Tom Mccauley

      And Sharon Bulova as well. Hudgins and Bulova sweep so much dirt under the collective rug. It is all above votes and, with police, keeping your job.

  • Tom Mccauley

    Yes, victim blaming. And there are mounting advent events, like discharge of firearms, strong-arm robbery, and such. Criminal acts are more brazen. The cop on the street must feel disappointed when leadership blames “perception” when “statistics” are manipulated by the police. Not all crimes, police calls, ect are readily made public anymore. Policy changed about a month or two ago, or, per my ears, three episodes of gun pops ago.

    • Willie Reston

      How are you certain that these things weren’t going on with the same or even higher frequency before RestonNow was around to report on them? If a gunshot goes off across town and one never hears about it, in one’s mind it never happened at all.

      Not saying you’re wrong, just that things might only seem worse because we have better/more information these days.

      • Tom Mccauley

        That is a good point. Heightened awareness has me more worried and vigilant.

      • TheKingJAK

        That’s always a possibility, and it doesn’t only relate to crime either. With better technology we will always be more capable of spreading ever increasing amounts of information more quickly and more vastly.

  • The Constitutionalist

    ““I think it’s perception, because I’m not seeing [an increase in crime] statistically,” said Capt. Ronald T. Manzo[.]”

    “The captain said one crime that is on the rise is larcenies from vehicles.”

    I’m confused. So is crime on the rise or not?

    • Willie Reston

      You may want to sit down before you hear this: there are actually many different types of crime.

      ***The more you know***

      • The Constitutionalist

        Oooooooooooooooooohhh….

        Now I get it, thanks ole chap.

  • RestonAssurance

    Are the reports prepared by FCPD statisticians or independent statisticians? I noticed a rise on larcenies from vehicles, but those appear to be opportune larcenies due to victims STILL not locking their doors, leaving valuables in sight. I actually feel sorry for officers responding to those calls.

  • Larry Scott

    It seems that there are several issues.

    The first being, are all crime and calls from the citizens reported. We have only lived here a year, but there were NO gunshots when we moved in and now there are a dozen reports. How is this not an increase?

    The second is the level and risk to life of individuals due to certain types of crimes. Yes, stealing a bike is a crime, but the chance of lost life is limited. When person or persons unknown fire round after round in an area where we, our children and our grandchildren live and play we have a different level of concern. Every bullet fired has to go somewhere. It is only a matter of time before there is property loss or worse yet, loss of life.

    Lastly, I for one see the issue of the car and home break ins differently. It appears the police see it as the fact that a citizen may or may not having locked the car or home door as a major contributing factor. Doesn’t any one see that the criminal walking through our communities trying door after door is the problem. If we had no banks, we would have no bank robberies. Is that the logic? The crime is the entering another’s property and taking items illegally. We should lock our doors, but we aren’t the criminals. Those who steal regardless of how easy or how hard we make it need to be arrested. Let the word go out to the criminals that Reston is a place to avoid. Go steal elsewhere. If we aren’t aggressive in our dealing with these issues, we become know as an easy target.

    If the police have specific stats that show the number of crimes by type year to year, send out the report. Please also include the year to date stats for 2017. We want to know.

    Sorry if our awareness puts added pressure on the police, but have you apprehended anyone responsible for the well over a dozen rounds fired at night and the early morning hours? I certainly hope we can get to the bottom of this before a resident catches a stray bullet.

    Larry Scott
    Lake Anne

    • Tom Mccauley

      Word. Well done.

    • Why do you bother?

      “Doesn’t any one see that the criminal walking through our communities trying door after door is the problem[?] ”

      Yes, of course that’s the problem. But KNOWING THAT, the reality is that you can take steps to significantly reduce the likelihood that some scumbag will steal your car by LOCKING THE FREAKING DOORS.

  • Hieronymus Bosch

    Look back to the interview from only 2.5 years ago when Captain Manzo took over – “Back to Basics”
    https://www.restonnow.com/2015/03/27/back-to-basics-for-police-in-reston-says-new-leader/

  • Larry Scott

    It seems that there are several issues.

    The first being, are all crime and calls from the citizens reported. We have only lived here a year, but there were NO gunshots when we moved in and now there are a dozen reports. How is this not an increase?

    The second is the level and risk to life of individuals due to certain types of crimes. Yes, stealing a bike is a crime, but the chance of lost life is limited. When person or persons unknown fire round after round in an area where we, our children and our grandchildren live and play we have a different level of concern. Every bullet fired has to go somewhere. It is only a matter of time before there is property loss or worse yet, loss of life.

    Lastly, I for one see the issue of the car and home break ins differently. It appears the police see it as the fact that a citizen may or may not having locked the car or home door as a major contributing factor. Doesn’t any one see that the criminal walking through our communities trying door after door is the problem. If we had no banks, we would have no bank robberies. Is that the logic? The crime is the entering another’s property and taking items illegally. We should lock our doors, but we aren’t the criminals. Those who steal regardless of how easy or how hard we make it need to be arrested. Let the word go out to the criminals that Reston is a place to avoid. Go steal elsewhere. If we aren’t aggressive in our dealing with these issues, we become know as an easy target.

    If the police have specific stats that show the number of crimes by type year to year. Please provide them and if you have year to date 2017 we would like to see how they compare.

    • Eva

      I’ve lived here a decade, and in my neighborhood there has been absolutely zero increase in loud noises at night, which may or may not include gunshots. There is an increase in people having a social media outlet/website to complain about loud noises at night which may or may not be (and frequently are not) gunshots.

      As for the locking of car doors, if they’ve got 30 thefts from vehicles, and all 30 are from people who have not locked their doors, then that’s a different type of crime than somebody actually smashing windows or breaking into the car. It’s the same end result, valuable stolen, but it’s a different type of perpetrator, a different window of opportunity, etc. Also, if somebody tells you “in the last few weeks, several unlocked cars have had things stolen from them” and you leave your car unlocked, you can’t pretend to be surprised. The police just want to give the criminals less access to commit their crimes, so that while they’re investigating less stuff gets stolen and fewer people are victimized. That can be easily accomplished by the simple act of people locking their stupid car doors, it takes two seconds, come on, why is anybody pushing back on this?

  • TheKingJAK

    To be fair regarding the reports of gunshots, I’ve witnessed numerous “Gunfire” dispatches being made for fireworks before, including during this past year. With bullet damage or witness confirmation it’s obviously a different story, though. Also, there’s nothing wrong with the police reminding citizens of preventative measures to take in an effort to reduce criminal opportunities. Citizens and police officers are a team, and we each have to do our respective parts to the best of our abilities in order to maintain a safe community. Be proactive, harden your own security, and be observant with a willingness to document and report when necessary. Last but not least, be willing and capable of defending yourself and your neighbors when absolutely necessary.

  • noodmik
    • John Higgins

      Do you really find it odd that the Fairfax PD does not chart crime reports in another jurisdiction with its own police department (Town of Herndon)?

      • noodmik

        The map does not only display FFX county county data. Expand out of the your Reston centric bubble into the hinterland of North East West Virginia (a.k.a. Loudoun County) on the map. Herndon PD just does not report their issues to the company that does the mapping.

  • RoadApples

    Thanks Chief Mondo for your explanation and confirming your lack of interest/concern/ability to solve this situation.
    I have no confidence in you and your efforts.
    I live in South Reston and will leave my vehicle unlocked and if items are stolen, I will only report to FFX Police for insurance recovery reasons; indeed not for any productive resolution to the actual crime from you nor your officers.

  • Dale

    The only thing I noticed was the amount of crime went up and that is based on the reports from Fairfax County Police. Has the good Captain looked at them! Perhaps if we increase the Density it will help this issue.

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