A Reston merchants organization and officials of Gulf Reston Inc., developers of the Northern Virginia community, agreed yesterday to hire two full-time security guards to help combat juvenile crime at a Reston shopping mall.
The decision, reached in a two-hour closed door session, followed reports this week of chronic shoplifting, robbery and assaults attributed to some Reston youths by local shopkeepers and residents.
Merilee Milburn, president of the Hunters Woods Center Merchants Association, said the retailers will share the cost of the security officers with Gulf Reston.
"We determined that the problems are there, and that they are of a harassment and nuisance nature, but we don't think that we should have been singled out as a black spot in Fairfax County," she said.
Some merchants who had expressed dismay at juvenile crime at the mall did not attend yesterday's session.
Milburn said Chris Schwartz, a Gulf Reston representative, was opposed to the new security team, but that the merchants felt otherwise.
"During the summer months the police were here," she said, "and it cleared up, but it just started again. The police couldn't arrest the kids, but the guards will be able to enforce the rules."