Arlington police car at night (File photo courtesy of Kevin Wolf)

(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) The neighborhoods around Gunston Middle School were once again the scene of a major spate of thefts from vehicles.

Thieves have repeatedly targeted residential areas along S. 28th Street, which connects the Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge neighborhoods, over the past month.

The latest involved the early morning theft of airbags from about 20 Honda vehicles, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report. Airbag thefts have also been reported in the nearby neighborhood of Aurora Hills, not far from Crystal City.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (Late) (Series), 2022-04280050/04280074, 1400 block of 28th Street S./600 block of 26th Street S. At approximately 5:47 a.m. on April 28, police were dispatched to the late report of a car theft. During the investigation, it was determined that between approximately 4:49 a.m. on April 27 and 5:36 a.m. on April 28, the unknown suspect(s) forced the entry of approximately 20 vehicles, all identified as Honda models, and have flown airbags. There is no description of suspect(s). The investigation is ongoing.

This is the third set of reported thefts in the neighborhood in April. Others include:

  • Five vehicles were searched after windows were smashed in Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge on April 25
  • At least one catalytic converter theft (of three total reported) on April 20
  • Three vehicles were searched after windows were smashed in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood on April 14

In November, sixteen vehicles in Long Branch Creek had their windows smashed in an alleged overnight crime spree.

Asked about the thefts and what is being done specifically in these neighborhoods to prevent further crime sprees, a police spokeswoman provided background information.

“Car theft, including theft of airbags, catalytic converters, tires and rims, and theft of valuables/keys from unlocked vehicles are recurring local crime trends and region,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “If time and resources allow, officers are conducting additional patrols in areas of reported incidents.”

“The ministry’s efforts are enhanced by the active participation of the community,” she continued. “Community members observing ongoing criminal activity should report for a police investigation by contacting the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or by dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency.”

Savage also provided the following top prevention tips.

Officers continue to share crime prevention information, including information about the 9 p.m. routine, with community members and organizations in areas of these incidents.

Additional crime prevention information related to car theft includes:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors when parking. Pull the door handle to check that it is locked.
  • Park in well-lit areas and turn on your home’s exterior lights.
  • Take all valuables out of your vehicle.
  • Do not leave your keys, key fobs or valet keys in your vehicle. This includes keys to a secondary vehicle.
  • Join the #9PMRoutine and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do the same.

A follow-up survey of Arlington County communications staff, with questions specific to affected neighborhoods, yielded more details about local outreach efforts.

“The daily crime report incident summary and crime prevention tips were shared by the CALT Community Engagement Division with all civic association presidents as well as all areas of Nextdoor,” Bryna Helfer, deputy county manager and director of communications and audiences, wrote. Commitment. “This includes the civic associations of Long Branch Creek and Arlington Ridge as well as other areas of the county like [larcenies from auto] have been reported in nearly every neighborhood in Arlington, usually overnight and can occur any day of the week.

ARLnow has not received a response to questions sent to the Long Branch Creek Civic Association email address. The neighborhood association’s Facebook page has been inactive for several years and its Yahoo Groups page appears to have been taken down.