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Crime in DeKalb: Tucker sees drop in burglaries, uptick in homicides

The city of Tucker is served by the DeKalb County Police Department.
The city of Tucker is served by the DeKalb County Police Department.

Credit: JOHN SPINK/AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK/AJC

The number of property crimes in Tucker decreased last year, officials said, championing the city’s partnership with the DeKalb County Police Department.

Totaling all home burglaries, business burglaries, car thefts and entering autos, Tucker saw 532 property crimes in 2019, according to statistics provided by the city. That’s about a 25% decrease from 2018, which had 712 property crimes.

The largest drop was in home burglaries, from 217 in 2018 to 124 in 2019, officials said.

Homicides in Tucker, however, saw a slight rise in 2019, from five in 2018 to seven last year.

When Tucker became a city in 2016, officials chose to continue working with DeKalb police instead of starting their own force. In 2018, Tucker and the county entered into an agreement that redefined the services areas of the police department, a move designed to increase the level of police service in Tucker.

Previously, officers from the North-Central and Tucker police precincts were assigned to cover the city. Under the new agreement, the entire city is served by only the Tucker Precinct.

Under the agreement, Tucker also has a dedicated liaison in the police department who hosts crime briefings with city leadership. This close partnership and focus on Tucker, the city said, is a reason for the drop in property crimes last year.

“Our officers are out in the community on a daily basis, forging relationships with residents and business owners,” City Manager Tami Hanlin said in a statement. “They are working diligently on new strategies in areas of high crime. Moreover, they have been great partners with our city staff and elected officials to help address the priorities of the city.”

As for the rise in homicides, police said the victims in each case were targeted, rather than being killed randomly.

One high-profile example is the case of Shirley Merritt, who was found stabbed to death at her home in the 1500 block of Planters Row in Tucker on Feb. 2. DeKalb police believe her son, Richard Merritt, killed her after he was sentenced to prison in Cobb County. He was arrested in Tennessee in October.

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