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Electronic thefts, strangulation reports up in Arlington

An uptick in electronic thefts and a new Virginia law led to a slight increase in Arlington’s crime rate in 2013, with 4,209 recorded offenses compared to 4,084 the previous year.

There were no murders in the county in 2013, and both rapes and burglaries decreased by 16 percent from the previous year. But more cellphones, tablets, and laptops were stolen, leading to a 4.6 percent increase in larcenies, and aggravated assaults spiked 33 percent. That jump, police said, is largely due to increased reports of domestic strangulation.

The Virginia legislature made “strangulation of another,” previously a misdemeanor, a Class 6 felony in 2012, to praise from groups that fight domestic violence. About 30 states have passed similar laws, mostly in the past 10 years, according to the Associated Press.

There have been no murders in Arlington yet this year; there were five in 2012. In nearby Alexandria, there has been one murder this year — the death of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, which authorities believe may be connected to two other homicides.

Crime also rose slightly last year in Fairfax County, also mostly due to more widespread larcenies.

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Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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