The date for the next Fairfax County meeting of Hands Up, a group that seeks to combat crime at the neighborhood level, was listed incorrectly in yesterday's Virginia Weekly. The meeting will be held Tuesday, April 12, at 8 p.m. at the Congregational Christian Church in Annandale.
A town meeting on crime - and ways to prevent it - last week drew about 120 Fairfax County residents who heard one woman tell of marauding young people speeding through her neighborhood and a man complain that one of his neighbors has installed bars on her home for fear of burglars.
The meeting was sponsored by Hands Up, a national volunteer project of the General Federation of Womens Clubs. The purpose of the town meeting, held at the Congregational Christian Church in Annandale, was to enlist residents as volunteers to plan their own programs for reducing crime, said moderator Faye S. Warren.
The GFWC has received a grant of $317,000 this year from the Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Assistance Administration to bring together citizens and criminal justice officials to map out what can be done to combat crime on a neighborhood level, said Warren, who is deputy director of Hands Up.
Since its funding from LEAA in the fall of 1975, Hands Up has formed groups across the country including the District, Montgomery County, Arlington and Prince William County.
At the meeting, one woman who lives in the Mantua section of the county directed her problem to panelist Col. Richard King, chief of Fairfax County police: "I am very deeply troubled by the situation in our neighborhood. Last weekend on Friday and Saturday nights we were were visited by well over 100 young people."
She said the cars raced onto her street going up to 60 miles per hour. The young people, who were drinking, then got out of their cars and held a party. Beer cans were thrown on the residents' lawns, she said.
"The police were called several times," she continued. "When they finally came on Saturday night they simply dispersed the young people. Nothing was done to make the children feel they had done anything wrong. What really concerns me very much is that I think the kids are learning to thumb their noses at the system."
Col. King said that in Fairfax County such parties draw anywhere from 50 to 2,000 people at a time. With limited police personnel it is difficult to deal with such gatherings, Col. King said.
Officers are instructed to order the people to disperse, and, if that fails, to use gas or physical force, he said. "Most youngsters don't want to get into trouble; most leave."
John Moffat of West Springfield said: "There has been a great concern voiced about 'the children.' What about this lady? Suppose she had been killed by one of the those speeding cars. "Are we going to have to turn our homes into fortresses with bars on the windows, like one lady in my neighborhood? She says she no longer feels like she lives in a safe neighborhood."
Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Jamborsky formerly a Fairfax County juvenile judge, noted that although the latest figures show that serious crime in Fairfax County decreased last year, "there is still a serious crime problem - it is not just a court problem or a police problem - it's the people's-problem and the solution will be reached by concerned persons such as are here tonight. . ."
Hands Up will hold its next town meeting to organize projects in Fairfax County Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Congregational Christian Church, Annandale. For further information, call Carolyn Pruefer at 280-5048.