Arlington crime down, but vending machine larcenies way up


Vending machine theft is not a problem in China, where they have live hairy crabs and bottles of vinegar. For real. The crabs cost from 10 yuan (US$1.50) to 50 yuan (US$7.50), depending on size and gender, and customers are promised a compensation of 3 live crabs if their purchase is dead. The machine sells an average of 200 live crabs daily. More interesting than an Arlington crime rate story, yes? (Sean Yong/REUTERS)

Robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries dropped slightly, but vehicle thefts decreased by 29 percent — from 297 to 211 — and the number of larcenies dropped from 4,140 in 2009 to 3,942. Homicides went from two to one, and rapes increased from 15 to 24, but both of those crimes are typically random in the suburbs and not as subject to proactive policing.

But Arlington’s real problem? “Larceny — Coin-Operated Machine.” Up 10 percent in 2010: from 10 to 11. (You don’t see many departments break out the coin-operated category.) DARN YOU, Kit-Kat Thief!

Alexandria and Loudoun also saw crime drop last year. Still waiting on Prince William and Fairfax.

[Note: Arlington’s press release says their crime dropped 7.6 percent. That is the crime rate per capita, calculated as a ratio of serious crimes per 100,000 residents, which will go down when your population is going up. What’s remarkable in NoVa is that the raw numbers of crime continue to drop even as the population grows, which is counterintuive. Fairfax in particular has done an amazing job at reducing raw numbers of serious crime while their population soared the last 20 years. I’ll write more about that some other time.]

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.

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