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Mall officials: Stonecrest safer than you think

CONYERS - Officials from the Mall at Stonecrest said their security efforts, along with increased patrols by the DeKalb County Police Department, will ensure a safe shopping experience this holiday season.

Patricia Elmore Edge, general manager of the south DeKalb County shopping mall, welcomed recent news reports of DeKalb police adding 10 patrol officers to the area.

However, she said, it should be clarified that much of the reported criminal activity has occurred on surrounding properties that are not owned by Forest City Enterprises Inc., the management company that operates the Mall at Stonecrest.

Edge explained Friday that the mall has had few incidents on its property, which she credited to their security efforts at the 1.16 million-square-foot shopping mall. Stonecrest has utilized the services of a private security company since it opened in 2001. Also, off-duty DeKalb police officers have been hired to supplement the private security.

"We don't want to create a false sense of security because crime is everywhere," she said. "However, we feel that we have taken the measures needed to make mall property as safe as possible."

DeKalb Police announced its Stonecrest Police Business initiative last week following discussions with several businesses, including The Mall at Stonecrest. The meeting between the county police officers and businesses at Stonecrest came about from concerns of increased crime in the area.

DeKalb County Police spokeswoman Mekka Parrish said the added officers will patrol in police cars, on foot and on bicycles to cover the entire area generally known as Stonecrest, including the mall and shopping centers outside the mall property. She also acknowledged the Mall at Stonecrest has its own security and off-duty police officers.

Stonecrest is the first shopping area where DeKalb County Police are increasing patrols as part of the department's police business initiative. Parrish said South DeKalb Mall will be next to have increased patrols.

Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.