The burglaries seem to be related to a significantly higher number of similar incidents in DeKalb County and the city of Atlanta. All three jurisdictions are working on a coordinated approach and together have made one arrest, detained five juvenile perpetrators, recovered a stolen vehicle and recovered stolen property.
The Decatur Police Department is also in the process of investigating an attempted robbery and two robberies that occurred in Oakhurst July 1 and 2 and a car theft that occurred on Swanton Way in downtown Decatur July 3 that resulted in the vehicle crashing at Kirk Road and South Candler Street. A 15-year-old suspect is currently in custody.
According to information obtained from the witnesses and the victims, both the burglaries and the robberies are being committed by juveniles. Decatur Police Chief Mike Booker said there is no indication the juveniles are Decatur residents. He added these appear to be crimes of opportunity with no regular pattern but they do share common characteristics in terms of items stolen and the number and age of the suspects involved. “We are meeting and comparing information on a daily basis with both DeKalb County and city of Atlanta officers working the cases,” said Booker. “In addition to the regular patrol shifts of five officers, the city has called in additional off-duty police officers and re-directed the four special unit officers to assignments related to addressing the current situation.”
Officers are using marked and unmarked cars and implementing periodic roadblocks throughout the city. Additional uniformed city staff, including firefighters, are assisting in the patrol of city parks, neighborhoods and the business districts. In addition to responding to all burglaries and processing all latent prints, the police are using the GBI sketch artist and anticipate the release of at least one sketch very soon.
“We want to assure the community that resolving these incidents are a top priority for the city commission, the police department and all city staff,” Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett said. “We are confident that they are utilizing every available resource to catch the perpetrators. The police regularly issue community advisories and update them as more information is available for release. We encourage the community to read those advisories and follow the suggested safety precautions.”
Advisories are also posted on the city of Decatur website at www.decaturga.com.
Booker and other police staff members are available to attend neighborhood association meetings. Call (404) 373-6551 to request they attend a meeting.
The Decatur police encourage the community to call if they see any suspicious activity. If someone believes they are witnessing a crime, or have an emergency, dial 911.