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Rockdale County Sheriff's Office steps up enforcement along Salem Road

This “heat map” shows areas of crime in Rockdale County. The highly concentrated area along the Salem Road corridor is where the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office will be focusing its enforcement efforts beginning next week. (Special photo: Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office)

This “heat map” shows areas of crime in Rockdale County. The highly concentrated area along the Salem Road corridor is where the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office will be focusing its enforcement efforts beginning next week. (Special photo: Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office)

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The high-traffic Salem Road corridor incorporates a wide variety of property uses — from fast-food restaurants to retail stores to day care centers, schools and even farm land. Residential developments range from well-established single-family neighborhoods to multi-family housing to subdivision developments that were never completed due to the recession. The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is undertaking a special enforcement effort to improve safety in the area that has been identified as a high crime zone. (Staff Photos: Alice Queen)

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The high-traffic Salem Road corridor incorporates a wide variety of property uses — from fast-food restaurants to retail stores to day care centers, schools and even farm land. Residential developments range from well-established single-family neighborhoods to multi-family housing to subdivision developments that were never completed due to the recession. The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is undertaking a special enforcement effort to improve safety in the area that has been identified as a high crime zone. (Staff Photos: Alice Queen)

CONYERS — Throughout the holiday season, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office will be increasing enforcement in the Salem Road area due to the high level of crime there.

According to a press release from the Sheriff’s Office, the Salem Road area has over the past several years been a “steady location of crime.”

Beginning next week, the RCSO will have an increased presence on Salem Road and in the immediate area with the goal of reducing criminal activity. The Sheriff’s Office will partner with other local and state law enforcement agencies, including the Conyers Police Department, Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to perform concentrated enforcement efforts, road checks and other proactive activities.

Crime analysis shows that year after year the area is statistically one of the highest crime areas in Rockdale County for burglaries, entering autos, robberies and thefts.

Investigator Michael Camp is the crime analyst for the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office. He said the Salem Road area – or Zone 6 – consistently ranks as a high-crime area in the county.

For example, he said, in 2011 the Salem Road area represented 22 percent of the crimes — thefts, entering automobiles, burglaries, robberies and automobile thefts — reported in Rockdale County. In 2012, 24 percent of the crimes occurred in the area.

In the first 10 months this year, 287 of the 1,364 crimes reported in Rockdale County — or 21 percent — occurred in Zone 6.

“Basically one-fifth of all crimes in Rockdale County happen in one zone,” Camp said.

RCSO Chief Deputy Scott Freeman said the stepped up enforcement is designed to reduce crime and should have an immediate impact in the area.

“We are gearing up to make this area as safe as we possibly can make it,” he said.

Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett said that the targeting of the Salem Road area is the first of crime reduction efforts that will be implemented across the county.

“While law-abiding citizens might have a slight disruption in their daily lives due to these efforts, such as driving through a road check, residents can rest assured our main goal is to increase safety and provide a high level of visibility to let the criminal element know we are out there,” he said. “This effort is intended to send a clear message to criminals that crime will not be tolerated.”

Despite the concentrated efforts in the eastern part of Rockdale County, Levett said resources will not be pulled from other areas of the county during the holiday season.

“Citizens and business owners in other areas of Rockdale County will not be neglected due to the concentrated crime reduction effort in the Salem Road corridor,” he said.

After the holiday season, the RCSO plans to continue its increased presence along Salem Road and other high crime areas with specialized units, such as the Criminal Interdiction Unit and Task Force, as well as concentrated patrol efforts of zone units.