Hi ccc. I'm not sure what you've heard/seen. But there are some very safe and family friendly areas in Northern Virginia.
Burke is wonderful! Great schools and very, very safe.
I know of a house to rent in my neighborhood. I'm not sure when you are moving. The house will be available July 1. But it won't last. The last time a house was available for rent in this neighborhood, it was taken the first day it was listed.
Elementary School is King's Park/King's Glen. High School is Lake Braddock. We have been very, very happy with the schools.
We live in Burke Station Square.
I'm not sure what your budget is. This house rents for $2600 a month. It's four bedrooms, three baths, and a large finished basement. The neighborhood has walking trails, and playground, and a pool. It's very family friendly. My son goes outside after he has a quick snack after school.....I have to force him to come in at supper time.
There are also townhouses in the community if that's what you're looking for.
dm me if you want more information. Good luck in your search!
Edited to Add....Our neighborhood is directly across the street from the VRE station. The folks who work in DC just walk across the street and jump on the train.