Attacks Prompt Trail Safety Reminders from Police
Fairfax County Police respond to recent attacks with these safety tips.
With four recent assaults in the Fairfax City-Burke area, Fairfax County Police encourage residents to be smart and take precautions when using trails, parks, paths and remote roadways.
On March a man used a knife to threaten and sexually assault a 24-year-old woman along Commonwealth Boulevard near Richardson Drive in the Kings Park West subdivision. Fairfax County Police described the man as white, about 5-feet 7-inches tall, wearing a sweatshirt.
Police reported a 16-year-old girl was grabbed in the woods where Pickett Road ends (near Frost Middle School) while walking home from W.T. Woodson High School on March 19. Police said the suspect is 18-27 years old, 5-feet 8-inches tall, about 170 pounds, with short black hair. He was wearing a white t-shirt and shorts at the time of the attack.
Police responded to a report of a 27-year-old woman who was power walking around noon April 14, when she was grabbed by a man on a wooded trail off of Danbury Forest Drive near Braddock and Rolling roads. The victim yelled, fled the trail and called police for help. The man was described as Hispanic, between 5-feet 6-inches to 5-feet 9-inches tall and around 150-170 pounds. He was professionally attired in a white, buttoned shirt and a dark vest, black slacks and black shoes.
On April 20, a man approached a 13-year-old girl with a knife near the 9600 block of Pierrpont Street near Royal Lake and Burke Road, near Kings Park West. Police described the suspect as between 15-18 years old, about 5-feet 5-inches tall, with gray pants and a blue and orange hoodie.
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"The police have safety in mind and officers proactively patrol the county’s trails, roads and pathways every day, searching for suspicious activity," said a police department press release. "They are out on foot, in their police cars or riding bicycles through neighborhoods, local parks and shopping centers. Crime Prevention Officers also play a vital role by meeting with residents, merchants and shoppers; they share helpful personal safety tips and crime deterrence information."
Fairfax County Police encourage everyone to follow these essential safety tips:
- Try not to go out alone; if you do, make sure someone knows where you will be and when you expect to return.
- If possible, avoid using trails after dark.
- Do not use headphones at a high volume; make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.
- Always look ahead and see what or who is around you. When exercising, watch out for potholes, gates and other trail users and obey traffic signals.
- Call 9-1-1 if you believe you are in imminent danger.
- Call the non-emergency number (703-691-2131) if you see any suspicious activity. Suspicious activity is any person, noise, car or event that doesn’t feel right to you.
- Carry your cell phone with you at all times. Pre-program both 9-1-1 and the non-emergency number into your phone.
- Always lock your car doors.
- If driving to a trail or park, leave your valuables at home. If you bring them lock them in the trunk, but beware of someone watching you do this. Valuables commonly stolen from parked vehicles include GPS units, laptop computers, blue tooth devices, CDs, purses/wallets.
- Remove any empty bags or briefcases from your vehicle to allay criminals’ curiosities.
- Clean the GPS suction cup circle from your windshield.
"Do not hesitate to call the police," said the press release. "If you see something suspicious or are the victim of a crime — even if you are not hurt — the sooner you call the police, the more likely police can locate a suspect, individual or vehicle."
Anyone with information related to the crimes in this article is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, send an online message at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.