Convenience stores

DeKalb County may require convenience store surveillance cameras to deter violent crime

All convenience stores in a metropolitan Atlanta county may soon be required to install surveillance camera systems on their property.

A DeKalb County commissioner hopes round-the-clock surveillance of high-risk businesses will reduce violent crime in their neighborhoods.

Along with these convenience stores, the proposed new order states that any business where a serious crime such as murder, rape or armed robbery has occurred will have to install cameras or possibly update its current system.

“Technically, each of these businesses should already be under scrutiny,” DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson said.

She sponsored this ordinance which would require a dedicated camera at every cash register, entrance and exit, and gas pump.

This is mandatory for any business where the police have been called more than three times in 30 consecutive days.

“I think it’s a new day and in many cases that’s what it will take for us to be able to prosecute and hold individuals accountable adequately,” she explained.

The proposed legislation requires these stores to have a camera system in good working order 24/7.

“Whenever there is a request for images, they must be delivered within 72 hours of the request to the land authority,” she explained.

The cameras will also need to monitor a minimum of 75 feet from the exterior of the building, and all must meet minimum technology standards for resolution and pixels to ensure video clarity.

“I’ve even driven to gas stations and when you look with the owner you literally see the commission of a crime but beyond that you have nothing tangible to work on” , detailed Cochran-Johnson.

The idea is a direct result of a series of violent crimes, including shootings and homicides, at gas stations around the county.

“He was openly selling marijuana to other people who came into the store. I didn’t see anything the company was doing to stop him,” said LaWanda Ratcliffe, who lives in the area where some of these shootings took place. took place.

Residents said the commissioner’s order brings a new strategy to this situation.

It is one of several efforts made or suggested by police and county leaders in recent months to bring crime under control in these businesses.

“Residents are still very concerned about what we are seeing on a daily basis,” Ratcliffe detailed.

If passed, this ordinance will allow county employees to cite companies that are not complying.

The citation could result in fines or jail time.

Commissioner Cochran-Johnson said the bill will go to the employee relations and public safety committee before commissioners can vote on it.