The Atlanta City Council says mandating gas stations to install security cameras will help reduce crime across the city and ease peoples fears when they fill up at the pump, according to legislation approved at its Aug. 6 meeting.
The council approved an ordinance to require all service stations install video surveillance systems. The city’s new law comes after DeKalb County recently approved its own ordinance requiring surveillance cameras at its gas stations.
The purpose of the new legislation is to reduce the number of car thefts and violence at service stations throughout the city, according to city officials.
“We must remain committed to making the necessary investments and share in the safety concerns of all of Atlanta’s communities and residents,” said Councilmember Andrea Boone in a written statement after the vote. Boone introduced the legislation.
The new law would impact roughly 250 businesses. It would go into effect after the city’s chief financial officer comes up with an implementation plan that is approved by the council’s finance committee, according to the city. The timeline for approval of the plan is 120 days.
“Once it goes into effect, this legislation can help assist law enforcement in their attempts to curb the activity and hopefully give our residents a sense of comfort.” Boone said.
“Our neighborhoods have experienced the impact of unlawful activities at gas stations, and this is a step to help keep our seniors, children, and patrons safe at the service stations and convenience stores,” Boone said.
Greg Pridgin, an associate of attorney David Jaffer, who represents United C-Stores, told the council before the vote that security cameras are already installed at many convenience stores. He said the new cameras are an added expense and asked the city to treat the stores equitably.
“These are small business owners and they are wanting you to know that these convenience stores don’t commit crimes,” Pridgin said. “It is the criminals who commit crimes.”
At a July 10 public safety committee meeting, several people spoke out in favor of the ordinance. They said they feared having their car stolen or possibly being mugged while stopping at their neighborhood convenience store.
“They must be held accountable for the safety and the well being for the residents, the children, the guests and the family who depends on their service,” said Arlesha McMichael at the July 10 meeting.
She said she and her neighbors especially supported cameras be installed at gas stations along Martin Luther King. Jr. Boulevard
“It is unacceptable that those who profit from these establishments do not invest in our communities at all,” McDaniel said. “Our communities deserve better by implementing these cameras.”