Reston, VA

Reported crimes in Herndon were at a three year high in 2019, according to a new report from the Herndon Police Department.

In 2019, there were 833 reported crimes in Herndon, an uptick from the 791 crimes reported in 2018.

The crimes with the greatest one-year increase were auto theft, aggravated assault and destruction of property according to the report. In 2019, there were 25 reported auto thefts, more than in the previous two years combined.

Steve Pihonak, a captain with the Herndon Police Department, called auto thefts a “crime of opportunity,” saying there is a growing trend in the town with criminals taking advantage of people who leave their cars idling.

“Auto thefts are often what we call a ‘crime of opportunity,’ and these are not easy for officers to predict or police against,” Pihonak said in a statement. “For example, out of the 25 auto thefts in Herndon in 2019, 11 of them occurred when the cars were left running. Additionally, five more cases occurred when the car was left unlocked with the keys in the car. In one other case, the vehicle was left unlocked.”

To prevent auto thefts and other crimes, Pihonak said people should follow a “9 p.m. routine” where residents should remove valuables from their cars at night. Additionally, residents should close their garage door, lock their front door and leave a light on at night, Pihonak said.

Aggravated assaults increased from three reported cases in 2018 to 29 in 2019. The reported three cases in 2019 are an anomaly according to Lisa Herndon, a spokeswoman for Herndon Police said, who pointed to the fact that there were 21 reported aggravated assaults in the town in 2017.

She said police don’t know what accounted for the low number of reported aggregative assaults in Herndon in 2018.

Destruction of property crimes increased from 77 reported incidents in 2018 to 188 in 2019, which is closer to the 2017 total of 132.

As reported crimes are at a three-year high, arrests are at a three-year low, with just 575 arrests in 2019, compared to 688 in 2018 and 837 in 2017.

In contrast, there were fewer reported incidents of assaults 165 reported cases in 2019 compared to 190 in 2018, drug and narcotic crimes with 93 incidents in 2019 compared to 118 in 2018.

But whether it’s an uptick or drop in reported crimes, it is not a reflection of a trend, Herndon said.

“There’s naturally going to be an up and down,” Herndon said of reported crimes in the town. “To speak specifically to a one year change isn’t really getting the whole picture.”

Photo via HPD

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