Thursday, August 1, 2019

Neighborhood Watch Update

By Chuck Foster

When we contemplate trends in crime and crime prevention, it can help to have context. The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) recently published its annual report for 2018, which includes a lot of useful and interesting information. The report can be found at the following address: https://issuu.com/fcpd/docs/2018_fcpd_annual_report?e=33283523/69537047 

The report includes violent-crime survey data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association. The tables in the survey compare 2018 crime statistics for large police departments across the country. This presentation allows readers to view the number of reported crimes in Fairfax County and compare it to other large metropolitan areas. The results are quite enlightening.

The following table presents some, but not all, of the information in the FCPD report. The FCPD report does not include population size, which was added below for more effective comparisons.


Police Agency

Homicide

Rape

Robbery
Aggravated
Assault
Non-Fatal
Shootings
Approx
Population
Fairfax County
13
92
354
260
N/A
1,140,000
Montgomery County
20
507
597
777
24
1,059,000
Prince George’s Cty
60
127
926
363
162
913,000
Washington, DC
160
273
2,034
1,674
N/A
633,000
Baltimore
309
350
5,384
5,469
678
619,000







Atlanta
89
234
1,051
1,819
431
486,000
Boston
56
242
1,170
2,735
155
685,000
Chicago
564
1,815
9,685
15,309
2,943
2,716,000
Newark
69
165
712
1,638
236
285,000
Pittsburgh
51
93
703
922
269
302,000
Portland
26
442
1,072
1,972
N/A
648,000
Raleigh
17
153
562
894
100
465,000
Salt Lake City
10
219
418
690
N/A
201,000
San Diego
35
605
1,439
3,281
N/A
1,420,000
Wichita
44
439
600
2,489
140
391,000


What is striking is the significantly lower level of reported crime in our county compared to other local jurisdictions (and the population sizes for adjacent counties are not that different from our own). Consistent with these data, when the FCPD published crime statistics for 2017, they showed the lowest levels of reported crime since the county started providing data.   

What accounts for this outcome? As one travels the county (406 square miles), it is clear that the area is anything but homogeneous as measured by any number of criteria, including, among others, race, age, religion, income, job, housing density, and political party. For example, the FCPD report shows a county population breakdown of 52.5% White, 9.1% Black, 18.6% Asian/Pacific Islander, 15.9% Hispanic and 3.9% Other Non-Hispanic. In addition, the county has an unemployment rate of approximately 2.5%, which is quite a bit lower than the national average. Furthermore, the median household income in the county is $119,230 (2017), which is above adjacent jurisdictions.

Whatever the reasons, we are fortunate to live in a community that demonstrates a high level of cooperation, tolerance, respect, industry, and civility. Let’s all do our share to maintain the high quality of life we enjoy in Reston and Fairfax County!

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