In response to two recent sexual assaults in the Braddock District, Supervisor John Cook held a community awareness meeting at Robinson Secondary School Monday.
Representatives from the Fairfax County Police Department and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) joined more than 100 concerned residents in a review of the incidents and discussion of safety procedures in place and proposed.
A 24-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in the woods off Commonwealth Boulevard in Kings Park West on March 14. Less than a week later, on March 19, a 16-year-old W.T. Woodson High School student was assaulted while walking home from school near Frost Middle School.
Capt. Joe Hill of the West Springfield District Police Station said increased police presence has been placed in the communities where the assaults occurred. He reassured residents the police are doing everything they can to find the offenders in these cases.
Woodson Fence Proposal
Fairfax County Public Schools is considering a proposal to build a fence along the property line of Woodson High School. The fence would eliminate use of the pathway where the second assault occurred, by directing students walking to and from school towards a sidewalk, according to Doug O’Neill of the FCPS Office of Safety and Security.
"There was a lively exchange of opinions, and I stressed my desire for the schools to have an additional meeting with community members to more directly address this proposal," said Supervisor Cook.
"The attacks have understandably generated a great deal of concern amongst the residents of Braddock District, but it is important to remember that Fairfax is still an incredibly safe jurisdiction to live in," said Cook. "The police are working diligently to see these cases solved."
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, by online form at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org, or by text at "TIP187" plus your message to CRIMES/274637; or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
Sgt. Rich Theal reminded attendees of personal safety tips, and stressed, "If you see something, say something." The safety reminders include:
- Stay alert - Be aware of your surroundings.
- Be confident - Walk with confidence and purpose.
- Trust your instincts - Learn to trust intuition and react to unsettled feelings.
- Carry a cell phone.
- Alert family/friends to your travel plans and when you may be home.
- Have an escort, if possible.
- Avoid carrying large sums of money.
- Report suspicious people or activity to police.
- Walk in well-lit, populated areas; avoid cut-through paths.
- Avoid walking near hedges or bushes.
- Before leaving a bus/rail station, observe others.
A Fairfax County Police Department public safety brochure is available for download.
Braddock District Supervisor John Cook's staff contributed to this article.