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DeKalb commissioner hopeful mandate for convenience store cameras will pass

The mandate would require all DeKalb County convenience stores and monitored businesses to have a clear, working camera.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A new video surveillance system mandate could soon make its way to all DeKalb County convenience stores. Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson proposed the legislation after a concerned resident requested cameras at gas stations. 

Cochran-Johnson saw first hand the need for clear, working cameras when she went to a crime scene and reviewed video that was blurry.

"I just want all of the residents of DeKalb to know that we take public safety seriously," said Cochran-Johnson. "I personally will not have a DeKalb County resident fearful to visit a gas or service station or any business in DeKalb County."

RELATED: Father of 3 named as victim killed at DeKalb gas station, shot after trying to help break up an argument

The proposal has gained momentum in the wake of the shooting death of 36-year-old Demario Parrish, who was killed trying to help a woman and break up an argument at a gas station.

“When you drive up to service stations, you have so many incidents of crime and violence," Cochran-Johnson said.

The ordinance would extend to monitored businesses who have more than three calls for police service within 30 consecutive days or a retail establishment where a serious crime took place. Crimes such as murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, and others fall under the umbrella.

The county will not fund the surveillance systems. All costs will fall on the business owners, which Cochran said is a "small price," for them to pay to ensure customer safety. 

The community and some gas station owners have showed support for the proposal in hopes that it will diminish crime in the area.

One of the latest crimes happened last week when authorities said the victim was killed after he tried to step in and break up an argument between a man and a woman at a gas station in DeKalb. 

Surveillance video in this case showed the events leading up to Parrish's final moments.

“He was a loving kind of guy, overprotective of his mother, sisters and his family. No matter what, he was always going to protect you from whatever situation you were in," said Angela Phillips, Parrish's mother. “He's a father of three daughters, which he left behind, and this was just a sudden act that happened overnight that we are still trying to believe it happened."

The Employee Relations and Public Safety Committee will hear the proposal again on August 4. Cochran-Johnson told 11Alive she is optimistic that DeKalb residents will have a new ordinance to help with curbing crime soon. 

 

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