This Isn’t News?!? “D.C. Suburb Posts Lowest Crime Rate in Its Statistical History”


So it’s not Silver Spring, Maryland. It’s on the other side of D.C., in suburban Virginia. Still, Tom Jackman at The Washington Post reports:

With kkraehftze
zero fanfare, Fairfax County quietly released crime statistics showing that in 2014, the Washington region’s largest jurisdiction recorded its lowest crime rate in its statistical history, dating to 1970.

Zero fanfare? What — are they ashamed? Isn’t this the kind of great information that makes NEWS?

Apparently not. If it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead. If it’s hunky-dory, there is no story. If all is terrific, let’s not get specific. It all is fine, we still will whine….

Okay. I’ll stop. The point being that if the crime rate in the D.C. suburbs is back to what it was in 1970 — when all kids were Free-Range — maybe it’s time to stop worrying about parents who are raising Free-Range Kids.

But if the news never gets out that crime is at historic lows, it’s no surprise that folks believe unsupervised kids are in danger.


If there’s nothing to fear, there’s no news here. If things seem to thrive, forget live at five. If the stats are stupendous, the silence is tremendous.

And if there’s no need to be worried, that news will be buried.

Feel free to come up with your own news rhyme. – L.


Good news? If it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead.

New news motto: If it’s hunky-dory, there is no story. 


16 Responses to This Isn’t News?!? “D.C. Suburb Posts Lowest Crime Rate in Its Statistical History”

  1. MOBK April 22, 2015 at 12:53 am #

    if things are sublime, no chance for airtime?

  2. Scott April 22, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    If it doesn’t cause the blues, it doesn’t make the news?

  3. Crystal April 22, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Boo to the lack of coverage, but bravo to you for the rhymes!

  4. BL April 22, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    But if crime is down, the police will have more time to arrest children walking to and from playgrounds and parks. Are you sure this is a good thing?

  5. Jen (P.) April 22, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    There may be more to the non-announcement than “if it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead.” When crime rates are at historic lows, taxpayers are reluctant to keep increasing law enforcement budgets. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were intentionally downplaying it.

  6. Havva April 22, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    On a serious note, the article says: “Fairfax police also began a more detailed “incident-based” system of crime reporting in 2011, designed to capture additional data, but the county’s numbers have still declined.”

    I’ve had the privilege to hear a Fairfax officer talk about their data driven policing. They really are digging to know every incident. They ask members of the community to report even the most petty incidents. The officer talked about tracking down the thieves from a string of car break-ins, by going on a community list serve to get information on related incidents that were so minor they hadn’t been reported. Dozens of things on the level of the owner accidentally left their car doors unlocked and found they were missing $1.50 in quarters. He explained that these little incidents helped the police fill in a map of the route the thieves must have traveled. With that map, they were able to request assistance from people with video surveillance on properties between the incidents and find out who was walking the exact route of the incidents late that night. That let them ID the thieves, get a warrant, and ultimately recover dozens of GPS systems, laptops, tablets, and hundreds of dollars in small change. When asked about the Meitiv children, the Fairfax officer answered that “children should be going to the park.”

    Meanwhile I should point out that Silver Spring Maryland is in Montgomery County, which according to the article “saw a 10.6 percent rise in serious crime in 2014”. It would seem it is better to spend police resources hunting criminals, rather than hunting children walking home from the park.

  7. Ann in L.A. April 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    The authorities have little incentive to publicize this. If people understand that the crime rate is this low, the next time the police ask for more money, it might not be very forthcoming. It is part of the system to claim there are constant dangers, so people continue to regularly increase funding.

  8. Maggie in VA April 22, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    I live in Fairfax County, and frankly, it’s so expensive that everyone is working too hard to get into much mischief.

  9. sexhysteria April 23, 2015 at 4:28 am #

    Without any danger, kids can talk to strangers.

  10. Grant April 23, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    I’m with you Lenore on how much safer our communities are. But in a post complaining about how a drop in crime is not newsworthy, you link to coverage by one of the country’s largest newspapers. Maybe we should celebrate the publicity?

  11. bsolar April 23, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    @Grant, the problem is that most people get more influenced when something has a strong emotional impact on them. A news about lower crime rates doesn’t leave you in tears, but a news about a child abducted, raped and killed might. In your mind the former tends to become background noise, soon forgotten or ignored. The latter becomes a landmark planted in your mind which might influence your decisions if you don’t take he effort to be rational.

  12. Montreal Dad April 23, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Lenore on a Pun-Run…now I’ve seen everything…

  13. Ellen Edwards April 23, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    I just saw a similar “Low key” report in my hometown of San Diego, CA that our crime rate was down 35%. Not a lot of air time on the local news and made me wonder why. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Nixeu April 26, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Hey, I live in Fairfax County! Sweet! Very happy to hear that crime’s down so low. Not exactly surprised, given that I was pretty free-range growing up. Not too much so, since I was a pretty careful kid and teen, since I internalized fairly early that pain hurts, and that I should avoid it, and I was kinda paranoid. Bipolar and a good imagination can do that.

  15. JP Merzetti April 28, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    I remember 1970. My final year of high school. My first year of traveling North America on my own. Hitch-hiking.
    I recall girls my own age out there hitch-hiking, too. On their own.
    Roll over, Brando, and give James Dean the news.

    We are not the same species as we were 45 years ago. We have de-volved.
    Crime, though having decreased, to record lows even, hasn’t changed at all. It is still the same old animal. With the same old horns, fangs and claws.
    We, on the other hand, have changed considerably.
    Starting with the notion that tolerance has found its optimum level – at precisely zero.

    But it isn’t tolerance of crime, that is the issue.
    It is tolerance of whatever it is that steals our appetites, chills our blood, upchucks our tummies, startles our senses, challenges our sanity, scares us silly.
    (emphasis on “silly”)

    You see, I remember 1970 real well.
    What I remember was real relaxed people (and yet – Viet Nam was still going strong.)
    And high schools were rife with ‘soft’ drugs. (Yet universities were about to experience an attendence boom unparalleled in history.)
    And teenagers by the hundreds of thousands were roaming the continent like a great migratory devotion to Jack Kerouac’s “On the road.” Feeling that good old Call of the Wild. Many of them younger than I was, at the time. The vast majority of us survived quite fine.

    So how did we devolve? What mass psychosis struck the population, and kicked our collective common sense to the curb?
    To answer that question, apply a little bit of fictional imagination.
    The story goes like this:
    Select folks of all ages suddenly wind up, for some unknown reason, sucked up into a new and improved Rocky Horror Picture Show Time Warp……..gathered from every town, village and city in the nation, gathered from star date April 28, 1970 – and deposited straight into April 28, 2015. Science Fiction at its finest.

    And what do they find in our future?
    Current laws, policies, protocols, rules, regulations, restrictions.
    Say what? Seriously, dude?
    (Like a bad Back to the Future movie.)
    Only the comedy is black.

    Imagine, for a moment, the contrast.
    (Lord, these are not my people.)
    I thought we left the Pilgrims behind on Plymouth Rock. Is that the Mayflower all over again sailing into Chesapeake Bay? Musta taken a wrong turn somewhere past Cape Cod. And about three and a half centuries out of whack. Where’s a Salem when you really need it?
    We need to forge a nation here……but all I see are the ghosts of Twain, Legree, Terrible Teddy and Sitting Bull fighting in the captain’s tower. Quoting Timothy Leary, Thomas More, and dreaming of Utopia.
    What the hell happened?
    The Good Ship Lollipop sank. Apparently lollipops are now banned. Unconstitutional.
    We used to have a sense of humor. Ever notice how much this can resemble common sense?

    Utah Phillips (bless his heart) spake the truth, when his lumberjack stepped up and said, “I know what this is! Why, it’s……moose turd pie!”
    Wrapped in star-spangled cellophane. Sold at Stop ‘n’ Shoppes near yew. Hallelewya! We is saved!
    Tarnation for the congregation.

    Maybe we need to laugh at ourselves a little more honestly.

  16. Wow... April 30, 2015 at 2:38 pm #


    Sure. One large newspaper. But if the crime rate was at a record high, it would be not only in this paper but in every. single. paper. and every. single. news. broadcast in a given area. That’s the problem, imo.