Jul 13, 2023 - News

Atlanta wants gas stations to install cameras at pumps

Illustration of a vintage gas pump with the camera on its sign.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Gas station owners in Atlanta may soon be required to install cameras on their properties.

Why it matters: Cameras — particularly high-quality systems — are vital in helping police solve crimes.

Driving the news: The Atlanta City Council's Public Safety & Legal Administration Committee on Tuesday approved an ordinance mandating these businesses to install video surveillance systems.

Details: The legislation, which notes that a large number of violent crimes take place at gas stations, requires owners to install a "continuous video recording system dedicated to each fuel pump."

  • Cameras will be required to produce retrievable images and video that can be enlarged if needed.
  • They also have to be maintained and running at all times while the station is open.
  • Store owners must also have a backup camera system in place.

What they're saying: Several residents spoke in favor of the ordinance at Tuesday's meeting.

  • "As a young woman in this city that I call home, I unfortunately have been personally victimized by the undocumented mayhem and … unsolicited transgressions that happen at gas stations," a Westview resident told committee members.
  • Ricky Brown, an Atlanta business owner who helps veterans and ex-offenders get back on their feet, said he gets asked every week by women to accompany them to gas stations "because they don't feel safe."

Of note: Deputy Police Chief Timothy Peek said the Atlanta Connect program, which provides officers a list of cameras they can request access to for their investigations, has more than 33,000 cameras in the database.

  • He said the department is looking to grow the program and integrate gas station cameras into the system.

Zoom out: In DeKalb, an ordinance went into effect on June 30 that requires establishments in unincorporated areas to have high-quality video systems, according to the AJC.

What's next: Atlanta's ordinance is set to be considered by the full City Council.

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