DeKalb County community seeks way to ward off criminals

DeKalb County community seeks way to ward off criminals

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

Neighbors in a DeKalb County community say if police can't respond to crime fast enough, residents will find a new way to keep their streets safe.

One side of Brannen Road is in the Atlanta city limits, while the other is in DeKalb County.  After emergencies, residents in the Gresham Hills community say there used to be confusion on which law enforcement agency would respond. While that's improved, residents say they're still concerned about crime and they're willing to pay for extra patrols.

Rosa Sims has called the community home for three decades. She watches out for her neighbors, but she can't monitor Brannen Road every minute.

The 63-year-old woman's van was swiped by crooks, so she now takes extra safety precautions with that knowledge that an alarm isn't enough.

Responding to resident concerns, DeKalb County police heightened their presence in the southern end of the county this summer. An extra 25 to 30 officers were part of the so-called "surge."

Even with added police visibility, residents say crime is still a big concern. Neighbors say they welcome a new effort to create a security patrol that would monitor parts of the county.

The service areas are still being mapped out, and it's unclear how much private patrols would cost, but these neighbors say there's a need. They say extra eyes and ears would make them feel less vulnerable:

"That's the main thing -- the violation part," said Herman Witherspoon said. "Knowing someone has invaded your privacy."

Residents hope the extra patrols are in place by the end of the year.

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