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Robbery Response: Decatur Police Worked 200 Hours OT, Went Undercover

The Decatur City Commission heard about the police department's efforts to stop the recent armed robberies.

Decatur Assistant City Manager David Junger on Monday night told the city commission about the police department's efforts to stop the recent spike in street crime, including seven robberies.

Junger said police think , may have been committed by the same people, but otherwise haven't found a strong link to the other robberies.

The April 1 robbery at Wahoo! Grill on East College Avenue appears to have no connection to other incidents, he said.

Junger said police are doing everything possible to stop the robberies. "Right now this is our number one priority," he said.

The discussion took about half an hour and occurred near the end of the meeting. Though crime was the topic, no police officers attended the commission meeting.

Only one citizen spoke. Martin Conroy wondered if the police are working to increase visibility. City Manager Peggy Merriss said many of the police actions are undercover and not noticed by the public.

Junger said Decatur police:

  • Have worked more than 200 hours in overtime. The chief and assistant chief have worked on the street, he said, and patrol officers have taken part in the "robbery suppression" plan.
  • Sent an advisory to retail and restaurant owners April 4 urging them to be vigilant and take extra precautions while closing up.
  • Spoke April 8 to the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association.
  • Spoke April 10 to Wahoo! Grill employees. The restaurant was robbed after closing on April 1.
  • Will meet soon with officers from DeKalb County, Agnes Scott and Atlanta police.
  • Asked the GBI sketch artist to make drawings of suspects.

Junger said people should be aware of their surroundings, not walk around with a cell phone to their ear and travel in pairs at night.

"Decatur continues to be very safe but we also urge people to use common sense," he said.

The commission seemed satisfied with the report and didn't ask any sharp questions. Mayor Jim Baskett said Decatur has a reputation as a safe town, meaning the occurrence of crime stands out.

"It's a symptom of our success but that doesn't mean we're going to write it off," Baskett said. "There will be consequences."

Here are some other stories about crime in Decatur.

  • Decatur police issue advisory about robberies.
  • Why do robbers go after cell phones?
  • Robbers hit Wahoo! Grill.
  • Fifth armed robbery in Decatur.
  • Four juveniles arrested after phone snatched at restaurant.
Ralph Ellis April 16, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Do you have suggestions for the police department?
David White April 16, 2013 at 02:40 PM
get rid of the EcoATMs
Steve April 16, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Why was the Public Works Director speaking for the Police Department?
Resident April 16, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Ralph - suggestions for the police department include a strong police presence around the MARTA station at the square, and a strong police presence riding through surrounding neighborhoods. More overall visibility. Thanks for your coverage
Stacy H Holloway April 16, 2013 at 03:17 PM
The Public Works Director was speaking for the Police Dept because since the previous Asst City Mgr for Emergency Services left in December, Chief Booker reports to David Jung (see excerpt from Commisioners mtg below). According to the minutes from the Jan 22, 2013 City Commisioners Meeting : "City Manager Merriss stated that Fire Chief Toni Washington would be designated as the City’s Emergency Management Director and that she would report to Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold. City Manager Merriss stated that Police Chief Mike Booker would report to Assistant City Manager David Junger. City Manager Merriss noted that Assistant to the City Manager Meredith Roark would continue to provide staff and administrative assistance in emergency management."
narwanna April 16, 2013 at 03:18 PM
@David White, I second and third that! Shut them down move them out of Georgia! What every where else does that is there problem.
Robert Van Keuren April 16, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Police visibility will always be the most important element in preventing crime. Without that criminals sense an opportunity and soon act upon it.
CJM April 18, 2013 at 01:02 AM
"[Decatur resident] wondered if the police are working to increase visibility. City Manager Peggy Merriss said many of the police actions are undercover and not noticed by the public." No, really? Two different things, Peggy Merriss, and one does not void the need for the other. Nice evasion, though. Police visibility is a problem in Decatur. Since these robberies began, I have made a point to look for police presence every time I go downtown. In 16 trips downtown, I have seen a police officer exactly ONCE. Hardly scientific, I realize, but visibility is all about, well, visibility. And it is sorely lacking in our four-square-mile burg. The criminals agree, or they wouldn't commit crimes in the busiest part of the city in broad daylight.

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