Police step up efforts to combat crime at Richmond Highway area convenience stores
In the wake of numerous crimes committed at 7-Eleven convenience stores around the Richmond Highway area this past year, the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) has increased its presence and engagement at area locations.
According to FCPD, patrol officers from Mount Vernon District Station helped with the Jan. 24 arrest of two Maryland men accused of grand larceny and destruction of property for stealing a gaming machine from the 7-Eleven on Frye Road in Alexandria. The men — who were found and taken into custody near another 7-Eleven on Russell Road — are being investigated for potential involvement in six other gaming machine thefts or attempted thefts around Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria in December and January.
Officers from the Mount Vernon District Station’s Neighborhood Patrol Unit have been providing extra patrols and enforcement at 7-Elevens throughout the district, said FCPD spokesperson Sgt. Lance Hamilton, and the Crime Prevention Team has been working with asset protection and management at local stores to focus on ways to reduce crime. Last year, only the 7-Eleven locations on Elkin Street, Fort Hunt Road, Mount Vernon Highway and Fairhaven Avenue had no robberies, according to FCPD records, and thus far in 2023, two stores in the Mount Vernon Police District have been robbed.
Convenience store crimes also have been a problem further down the highway in Prince William County. There, officials from various county agencies recently joined forces and began implementing a plan to crack down on crime at a 7-Eleven in the 13900 block of Richmond Highway in Woodbridge. The store was the scene of several homicides and other criminal incidents in the past year.
In recent weeks, Prince William County officials have installed “No Trespassing” signs, increased police patrols, installed a camera and got the convenience store’s liquor license revoked, according to media reports. The county plans to improve lighting and trim the tree line behind the store for better visibility. Community members are being encouraged to increase lighting and install cameras.
Community engagement is also instrumental to FCPD’s approach to reducing crime. At the Jan. 12 meeting of the Mount Vernon Police District’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC), Station Commander Frederick Chambers said officers are doing everything they can to address crime and traffic enforcement issues despite staffing challenges, but they need the community’s help.
“Come and give us ideas and tell us stuff we don't know about,” said Chambers.
At the next Mount Vernon Police District CAC meeting — set to take place Thursday, Feb. 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Mount Vernon District Station — officers plan to review recent crime trends and incidents, make a presentation on traffic enforcement and hold a general Q&A.
The Franconia Police District CAC will hold its monthly meeting in the community room at the Franconia Governmental Center on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. The agenda includes a presentation on Crime Solvers and an update on recent auto thefts.
FCPD encourages community members to report any suspicious activity or crimes by calling 911 for emergencies or 703-791-2131 for non-emergency incidents.