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Fairfax County Police report increase in homicides, drop in overall crime for 2021

Fairfax County saw six more homicides in 2021 than in the previous year, the Fairfax County Police Department says, citing an unusually high number of adult children killing parents and other family members.

According to the department’s annual crime summary, Fairfax County police recorded 21 homicides last year compared to 15 in 2020.

Homicide detectives solved 16 of the 21 murders, but continue to pursue leads in the unsolved cases. That gives the FCPD a clearance rate of 76.2%, exceeding the national average of 61.4%. It was the first year since 2010 the county saw more than 20 homicides, according to FBI data.

Reston saw three homicides in 2021, including one in which a 24-year-old man was charged with second-degree murder after his father was found dead with stab wounds. A fatal shooting at an apartment complex on Winterthur Court in March remains unsolved.

In September, police arrested and charged a man with killing his father and burying him in the backyard of his house in the Culmore area. Police have not yet made an arrest in the killing of a 73-year-old man who was shot while using in ATM on Annandale Road.

Overall crime fell by 9.6% compared to 2020, driven by reductions in several categories:

  • Robbery fell by 1%
  • Domestic assaults fell by 4%
  • Burglary fell by 11%
  • Auto theft fell by 8%
  • Larcenies from automobiles fell by 17%

“The national rise in violence touched every major urban center in 2021, including Fairfax County,” said Police Chief Kevin Davis, who is approaching one year on the job in May. “Despite this, we remain one of the safest jurisdictions of our size in the country because our patrol officers, detectives and professional staff work tirelessly for our victims and their families. As we look ahead, FCPD will continue to engage with our community on the important work of public safety.”

Last year, the FCPD implemented a program that requires all officers to patrol communities on foot for at least 30 minutes each shift, in the hopes they’ll interact with residents and business owners in areas where dispatchers receive the highest call volume.

The department also launched a tool that uses surveys linked to QR codes to solicit feedback from community members, and added trainings for use of force and peer intervention.

In 2022, the department plans to update its policy to require releasing body camera and in-vehicle camera footage for incidents involving police within 30 days. The policy is moving through a final approval process, the police department said.

This year, the FCPD is also pushing recruitment efforts with a revamped website because of staffing shortages, and has signed a pledge to increase female recruits to 30% by 2030.

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