Safety & Security
On December 1, several hundred Druid Hills residents attended a meeting about combatting a crime wave that has plagued the neighborhood for nearly one year. The event, which featured a panel discussion and Q&A session, was moderated by DHCA president Cathy Vandenberg and State Senator Elena Parent.
Panel members included DeKalb County Commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader; Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan; Chief Conroy, Major Voss, and Lt. Merrifield of the DeKalb Police Dept.; Major Peek and Captain Gourley of the Atlanta Police Dept.; and Deputy Chief Cheryl Elliott for the Emory University Police Dept.
Druid Hills resident Stephen Chance, whose home has been broken into twice, spoke as a “representative victim.” He urged neighbors to join the Druid Hills Patrol and assume personal responsibility to help law enforcement.
The meeting yielded important information.
- Crime is up in DeKalb County and about the same as last year in Atlanta.
- DeKalb County police are extremely shorthanded with one officer covering the entire area; average response time for a prioritized call is eight minutes.
- Atlanta police respond to high priority calls within six minutes.
- There should be better coordination between the DeKalb and Atlanta police departments.
- Atlanta and DeKalb police agree that Druid Hills has been targeted by groups of young men who work together on crimes of opportunity. Cars containing valuables have been a particular target. Residents are urged to keep their cars clean.
- Atlanta and DeKalb police assume all criminals are armed and so should Druid Hills residents.
- Residents are urged to install cameras on their property and organize private patrols.
- Atlanta police officers will perform “home assessments”: walk your property and suggest how to make it safer.
- Residents are urged to be aware of their surroundings. Do not walk with your ear buds shutting out sound or engrossed in your cell phone.
- Atlanta police have a program called “Court Watch” – citizens attend the trials of repeat offenders who have plagued their neighborhood to advocate for stiffer sentences.
- Besides calling 911, nothing can be done about squatters who are on public land and not breaking the law. DeKalb County does not run a homeless shelter.
- Druid Hills residents should get to know their neighbors better.
- Call 911 for any emergency.
- Call 404-294-2911 for a non-emergency.
For more information or to participate in the DHCA’s neighborhood safety initiative, please contact Jim Boone at firstname.lastname@example.org.