Video cameras now required at DeKalb County convenience stores

Effective June 30, the new rule affects about 250 gas and service stations in unincorporated DeKalb.
DeKalb County has put into effect an ordinance requiring video cameras in all county gas and service stations.

DeKalb County has put into effect an ordinance requiring video cameras in all county gas and service stations.

Gas stations, convenience stores and other businesses considered at high risk for crime across unincorporated DeKalb County are now required to have high-quality video surveillance systems.

Starting today, an ordinance goes into effect aimed at deterring crime in some of the county’s most troubled spots. Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, who has pushed for the measure since 2020, said she’s excited to see it in place finally.

“Residents should not be fearful of going to a gas pump at any time, day or night,” she said.

The ordinance is unique across metro Atlanta. Elsewhere, video surveillance requirements at gas stations and convenience stores are either nonexistent or less thorough than what DeKalb County is mandating.

The new rule affects about 250 gas and service stations. Only stores in unincorporated DeKalb County — those outside of city limits — are required to comply.

The DeKalb County police chief can also require other retail business to comply with the surveillance rules if they’ve been the site of certain violent crimes or frequent calls to police.

In recent years, convenience stores have accounted for some of the most frequently reported sites of violent crime in DeKalb County, according to data previously obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Such stores totaled 19 of the 50 locations where violent crime was reported most often in 2021.

In June, a man was hospitalized after being shot multiple times outside a convenience store near the intersection of Northcrest and Chamblee Tucker roads. A few days later, a 27-year-old woman was fatally shot outside a convenience store on Holcombe Road north of Redan Road.

The law requires gas and service stations to have a high-resolution video camera at the store entrance and exit, each register, each pump and at any loading docks. Stores must also install cameras in parking lots.

The cameras are to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Stores must keep the recordings for at least 30 days and provide recordings to police within 72 hours of a request.

“We now have the capacity to very quickly see who you are if you are a perpetrator and quickly bring you to justice,” Cochran-Johnson said.

The county hired six additional code and compliance officers to enforce the new rules. They’ll start inspections next week.