Statement by Juan Carlos Fierro, Candidate for Arlington County Board, on Arlington’s rising crime

Statement by Juan Carlos Fierro, Candidate for Arlington County Board, concerning the rising crime in Arlington.

Juan Carlos Fierro, candidate for Arlington County Board, issued the following statement about Arlington’s rising crime:

The facts are indisputable: Crime – and especially violent crime – is increasing in Arlington.

One of the reasons I’m running for the Arlington County Board is my concern for the rising crime rate. As a husband and a father, I am deeply concerned about the safety of my wife and daughters. I am increasingly hearing about concern about Arlington’s rising crime from my fellow Arlingtonians – talking with friends and neighbors, following postings on social media, and reading articles in the local media.

While Arlington is generally a safe community, residents must be aware of the rising crime, and our leaders must prioritize the safety of our residents.

As the June 8, 2023 Press Release from ACPD noted:

“The overall crime rate in Arlington County, reported as Group A Offenses (defined on page 18 of the Annual Report), increased 17.8% in 2022 as compared to the previous year… NIBRS breaks down Group A Offenses by three categories: crimes against persons, crimes against property and crimes against society. Reported crimes against persons increased 16.4% in 2022 from 2021 totals with the primary drivers being increases in simple and aggravated assaults. Reported Crimes Against Property offenses increased 23%, compared to 2021 with marked increases in motor vehicle thefts, larcenies, fraud and destruction of property offenses.”

The increase in Group A Offenses is deeply troubling, especially the upticks observed for Crimes against Persons, and Crimes against Property.

One of the reasons Arlington has not been able to address this uptick is because of staffing issues, primarily the difficulty of recruiting Police Officers, As Chief Andy Penn noted:

 “As with many police departments across the country, police staffing continued to be a significant challenge facing our agency throughout 2022. Despite our lower staffing numbers, we remain fortunate to have incredibly professional personnel who continue to maintain public safety through active patrols and comprehensive follow-up investigations while working collaboratively within the community to build lasting relationships which are vital to public safety.”

Crime and community safety are not partisan issues. Voters deserve elected leaders who will prioritize community safety and address the rising crime across Arlington. To that end, I support fully investing in the Arlington County Police Department’s effort to recruit and retain qualified, professional staff, including incentives for incoming officers.

Additionally, community leaders must rebuke the pro-criminal elements in our justice system that are contributing to the culture of increased crime and reduced public safety in Arlington. Some in our own community have joined the nationwide effort to undermine police morale while refusing to prosecute certain offenses.

This makes it difficult to recruit new police officers, and causes an increase in early retirements in many police forces because police officers are being vilified. We should have morale boosting programs led by the County Board to give special recognitions for valor and service so that the rank and file know that the County Board and Administration supports them.