Waynewood residents have questions about the crime in the neighborhood. So Lt. Michael E. Proffitt, supervisor of the criminal investigations section and Master Police Officer Greg Kotterman, crime prevention officer, visited Waynewood to give them some answers.
Residents came together at Waynewood School wanting to know what was being done about the recent crime wave in their neighborhood. T
Proffitt and Kotterman didn't have all the answers, but they did try to update the residents on what was being done about existing cases, how to prevent future cases, and how they, as individuals, could help the police.
"I think it's slowed down," said Proffitt, talking about the criminal incidents in the neighborhood. Five people have been arrested in connection with some of the burglaries and vandalism that occurred earlier in the year. Some of the vehicle tampering cases were resolved by the youths who claimed responsibility and have made restitution. Proffitt believes that these crimes are all being committed by the same group of young adults and feels that they are making headway in solving the problem.
"After we arrested the 18-year-old, they [the other kids] agreed to calm things down," said Proffitt.
Yet, there's more to be done. Proffitt encouraged residents to be watchful of what's going on and to report it to the police. He told the residents to carry a flashlight and carry a cell phone while walking. He suggested using an old cell phone, which, as long as it's charged will still be able to access 911. When asked if they were concerned about getting a flood of calls, he said that while they may get a lot of calls now, it will be worth it in the long run. Residents can also contact CIS directly at 703-691-2131 or email them at Michael.Proffitt@fairfaxcounty.gov.
"If you have any questions, send me an e-mail," said Proffitt.
LISA GHEESLING IS concerned that she doesn't feel comfortable sending her boys up to the park surrounding the Waynewood Pool lately because some older boys have been harassing some of the younger boys. "We don't know what to do when there are kids hanging around. What should we do? If we confront them, we feel threatened," she said.
Proffitt suggested that if individuals don't feel comfortable confronting the youth, they should call and report whatever activity they're seeing. He said that the police will respond. He also suggested reporting the incidents to Kent Siegel, who serves as the security committee chairman for Waynewood, and tracks all the incidents. Siegel was instrumental in helping Proffitt and others see that there was a pattern of crime in the neighborhood.
Jim Johnson, president of Waynewood Resident Association, asked Proffitt and Kotterman what constitutes a call. Kotterman said that a call can be made even if under-age children are smoking cigarettes because that in itself is illegal. Certainly a call is warranted if they are doing drugs or drinking alcohol, and/or harassing people at the park.
"If the park is closed, they should not be there," said Kotterman.
Kotterman suggested a three-step process for dealing with youth who are hanging around, causing trouble.
First, he suggested reposting the No Trespassing signs which were previously posted, but torn down. Second, he suggested that the association send a certified letter to the parents of the youth causing problems telling them that their privileges are suspended. The last step is to prosecute.
With Memorial Day less than two weeks away, there is some concern about vandalism at the pool once it opens. The association is planning to use security guards to help address some of these issues.
"Sometimes kids get bored. They're trying to act like the older guys. The 13 and 14-year-olds are trying to emulate the 18-year-olds," said Proffitt.