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DeKalb County rolls out video surveillance ordinance at gas, service stations

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DeKalb County rolls out video surveillance ordinance at gas, service stations

DeKalb County Government Manuel J. Maloof Center in downtown Decatur. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County is beginning to enforce a new video surveillance ordinance at gas and service stations, which was effective June 30. All new and existing convenience stores, gas stations, and high-risk businesses are required to own and operate a video surveillance system.

“With the ongoing violence and crime DeKalb County is experiencing, particularly at gas and service stations, the approval of this ordinance couldn’t be more dire,” said DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson. “Our gas and service stations are our No. 1 location for violent crimes, and the ordinance will be a valuable tool in deterring crime and serving justice to anyone who engages in criminal activity at a DeKalb gas or service station.”

Cochran-Johnson introduced the ordinance in February 2021, and it was approved in December 2022, according to a press release. The legislation establishes minimum video surveillance standards for high-risk businesses for legal purposes and allows DeKalb County to extend those requirements to any business deemed high-risk to ensure public safety.

Here are some of the key components of the ordinance:

– Businesses must keep a video surveillance system in continuous operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including outside business hours.

– Businesses must meet the minimum standard of 4MP Wi-Fi network cameras that includes digital video recording with 24 frames per second and infrared night vision to ensure clarity.

– Cameras must be placed at registers, points of entry and exit, gas pumps, loading docks and parking areas.

– There will be a mandatory inspection of new construction plans or a one-time initial inspection of VSS to ensure compliance.

– After the initial inspection, the applicant must submit an annual affidavit with each application for the renewal of a business license that the surveillance system is operational and in full compliance with the applicable requirements and standards within the ordinance.

– A notice of the presence of the surveillance system must be placed at the register and on premises to let customers and the public know the business is being actively monitored.

– A digital video recording must be made available to any peace officer for viewing no later than 72 hours after being requested, and footage must be stored for 60 days. Footage must also display the proper date and time.

– VSS capture and lighting must extend no less than 75 feet of the building periphery.

All convenience stores that have video surveillance systems installed must obtain assessment approval from county code enforcement. All convenience stores must be compliant with the provisions upon opening their doors or before the renewal of their business license. To implement the program throughout unincorporated DeKalb six dedicated Code Enforcement Officers were hired.

Failure to adhere to the requirements of the Ordinance, upon citation by Code Enforcement and conviction of the violation in a court of competent jurisdiction, may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

Cochran-Johnson added that she’s grateful to the county administration and board of commissioners for their support of the ordinance.

“The future of public safety will rely heavily on technology,” she said. “This ordinance moves us progressively towards creating minimum standards for best practices that protect the community and put criminals on notice their behavior is monitored.”

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