DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – Homeowners in the North Druid Hills area feel like they are waking up every day to new reports of crime in their community. On top of that, they are frustrated with what they say is a lack of adequate police response.
For three months now, resident Sarah Grant said she’s been on edge after she and her husband had their house burglarized on Christmas day. Then, two nights ago, her husband's car window was kicked in and shattered.
“What I'm seeing is a string of horrific incidents and I'm concerned it's going to get worse and the incidents are going to get more violent,” Grant said.
The incidents at her home are just two of the nearly 200 one crime-mapping website has recorded since December in the North Druid Hills area.
Sheira Campbell with Dekalb County Police acknowledged that there has been an increase in the area. But while police and the community agree there’s an issue, some neighbors like Grant said officers aren't doing enough.
“We're having trouble getting police presence in the area,” she said. After the initial break in, Grant said she tried to report suspicious activity in the neighborhood and was placed on hold.
“I had to hang up and call 911 again, gave my name, and told them the situation,” she said.
“They said they'd have someone out there within the hour or so and that did not happen.”
She also claimed no officer showed up when her husband's car was broken into either.
“We need the police presence in our area,” Grant said. “We need to see them there. We need to see them present. We need to not be put on hold when we're calling 911 and I need to see immediate feedback.”
Campbell said that being there for residents is their priority, but the department is under strain because of a shortage of police officers. Campbell said the department currently has 740 officers, but ideally, they need 1,100 on the job.
“It depends on what's going on at the time,” she said. “So there would be priority in the calls that are coming in.”
Campbell said the officers are there in the area are aware of what’s going on and are working to be vigilant. She said officers have been able to make 10 arrests in the last three weeks, but also said it’s unclear whether it was a result of greater patrolling.
Meanwhile, Grant said the constant worrying is taking its toll: “It's very concerning to be stressed about going to sleep in your own home.”