At Issue: Is solution for gas station crimes right fix?

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

After community uproar over a rash of car thefts and break-ins in a concentrated area of Fulton County, commissioners agreed recently to require gas stations and convenience stores where crimes take place to improve their security and hire guards or risk losing their license to sell alcohol.

The move only applies to unincorporated Fulton County, most of which will become its own city this spring. Once the new city is formed, leadership there will have to decide if they want to mirror the county’s law.

High profile targets — actress, singer, rapper Queen Latifah and former Superior Court judge Marvin Arrington Sr. — brought more light to a growing problem. Last year, there was a 12 percent increase in car thefts in the unincorporated part of the county and a 17 percent increase in thefts from motor vehicles.

The new law applies to businesses that sell gasoline where the following crimes have taken place: murder, robbery, theft by taking, sexual battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery kidnapping or false imprisonment. Other unspecified crimes could also trigger the law, which would go into effect after one incident.

As part of the new law, gas stations would be required to have a security guard as well as a security camera system, a lighted parking lot, height markers on doors, a silent alarm to law enforcement and windows that have an unobstructed view. The stations also could not have tinted windows and would be required to train employees on robbery deterrence. If they don’t, they could lose their ability to sell alcohol. But an alcohol license cannot be suspended or revoked without a hearing in front of an administrative judge.

Will these measures help reduce crime? Is putting the responsibility on the business owners the right move? Or should another solution be considered? Tell us what you think. Send comments to Responses may be published in print and/or online.


Newly elected DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond takes office this month. We asked county residents what should some of his first priorities be. Here's what some readers had to say:

Economic development along the Wesley Chapel Rd corridor and the Stonecrest Mall area. We are in need of nice family entertainment, millennial entertainment, better food options and of course safety. — Snapfinger Manor

Personally, I'd like to see CEO Thurmond focus on improving surface road and water/sewage infrastructure throughout the country but specifically in South DeKalb, which has long been neglected for such services. I'd also like to see Mr. Thurmond start a new initiative to lobby MARTA in expanding further into DeKalb County along the I-20 corridor, especially in light of the recent incorporation of the City of Stonecrest. — Jonathan Gregory Banes

The new CEO should tackle economic development and affordable housing as his first issues. — Daniel Walker

CEO Thurman priorities:

1. Roads – Rockbridge Road – Resurface from Highway 124 to Memorial plus all others

2. Bike Lanes – Rockbridge Road from Highway 124 to Stone Mountain/Lithonia Road to down town Stone Mountain

3. Programs for middle and high school teams to prevent gang involvement and later economic and personal catastrophes.

4. Parenting training for deadbeat dads to help children not just financially but morally while hold all dads accountable for their children upbringing. — Sharon Newby

We want the same development in central and south Dekalb county like north DeKalb. We are the working middle class here in central and south DeKalb county just the residence in north DeKalb. We should not have to drive to Dunwoody to shop at a descent mall or drive to gwinnett county to Webb Ginn to shop or anywhere out of our area for quality goods and services. We have abandon buildings all over DeKalb county that new and existing businesses can come and provide jobs to stabilize the community, this will help curtail the crime. Dunwoody is growing at an alarming rate, whereas central and south DeKalb county is in a slump. There are companies moving to Georgia everyday, every month and every year to areas such as Woodstock, Gainesville, alpharetta, Dunwoody, Marietta and downtown. The county officials in these counties are going after these companies, they know it will bring jobs and stability to their community. Dekalb county officials this is what you need to do for your citizens, go after these companies and bring these jobs to the people of central and south DeKalb county to revitalize the community. Michael Thurmond we voted for you, now we expect you to deliver. — Patricia G.

The new Dekalb CEO should immediately focus on resolving the out of control water bills and possibly restructuring the entire Watershed department. The second priority should be economic development within the county as well as lowering the unemployment rate within the county. County residents should be employed as part of any new construction project within the county. Our police officers definitely deserve a raise and better benefits. However the Police department and Code Enforcement really need to step up their enforcement activities and standards. There are horrible conditions that lower property values and run away good residents/homeowners that are allowed to exist in the southern part of the county that would never be tolerated in the central and northern part of the county. Lastly, mass transportation options must be expanded outside the perimeter to South Dekalb, Stonecrest area, and the Gwinnett and Rockdale county lines. — Jennifer Parks

Target Joblessness:

Provide incentives for North, Central, and South DeKalb Tech Centers, similar to Atlanta Tech Village, where the centers support entrepreneurs to achieve success through community collaboration while creating jobs and improving the economy.

Enhance Neighborhood Policing:

Model Boston model, the Boston Police Department emphasizes relationships with youth and the community as the key to creating trust while improving neighborhoods.

Traffic Congestion:

Model Utah, they are an innovator in traffic signals. Their system uses video cameras, radar and loops to determine how many cars are going through an intersection, their speed and whether they get a green or red light. That information is collected through a fiber optic network and sent to the traffic operations center, which uses algorithms to produce data that engineers use to manage the signals, improve efficiency and correct problems manually. Brian DiNapoli

We moved to DeKalb County 25 years ago - east of I-285 off Memorial Drive - there was a Michael’s, a K-Mart, a Home Depot, a Publix, wonderful restaurants and our neighborhood was beautiful. Today, I have to drive to Northlake to go to a Michaels, Publix and great restaurants. Our neighborhood is full of pot holes (worse than potholes) and many of the homes aren’t in compliance with code.

We need to have someone come in and revitalize not only Memorial Drive but the neighborhoods.

Our roads are in bad shape and we need the litter problem addressed.

I know we can do this - please pay attention to this part of Memorial Drive! — dpdog