CONYERS — The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is a visible force as it has amped up enforcement efforts in the Salem Road area.
Beginning today, motorists and shoppers in the area will notice the Sheriff’s Office has set up the Mobile Command Vehicle in the parking lot of Ingles along Salem Road.
“This is going to serve as our Salem Road precinct while we increase our enforcement efforts during the holidays,” said RCSO Investigator Michael Camp. “This is our show of force that we are here.”
By noon Monday, the Sheriff’s Office had already made a number of traffic stops and a couple of arrests along the corridor.
Throughout the enforcement period, 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.
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.
The stepped-up enforcement is welcome news to many in the area.
“This is awesome,” said Jojuan Maxwell, who was driving through the Ingles parking lot early Monday afternoon and saw the Mobile Command Vehicle and RCSO deputies in the area.
Maxwell, who lives off Fairview Road in Newton County, works at the AT&T call center on Salem Road. She said she hasn’t personally been affected by crime in the area, but knows that some stores have been robbed frequently.
“I think it’s just awesome just to have the presence of the police here, especially during the holidays, it’s wonderful,” Maxwell said.
The enforcement efforts come at the right time.
On Sunday, RCSO deputies arrested three people suspected in an armed robbery on Salem Woods Drive, off Underwood Road, which is part of Zone 6.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the victim went to a home around 1:30 p.m. Sunday at 1757 Salem Woods Drive to purchase a dirt bike. When the victim arrived at the home, he was met by two men — 17-year-old Joshuah Stephens and his cousin, Terry Austin Stephens, 20, both of 5372 Ga. Highway 212, Covington — who asked to see the money to purchase the dirt bike. At some point, the two men began to fight with the victim. One of the men then pulled out a knife and the other a baseball bat to rob the victim of the cash, according to Camp.
After the robbery, the suspects left the home in a gold SUV heading toward Honey Creek Road, authorities said.
“Responding deputies searched for the suspect vehicle in the Honey Creek Road area and found it abandoned in the Honey Springs subdivision,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies returned to the home where the armed robbery occurred to see if the men had returned. The woman who answered the door, 20-year-old Cheyenne Daniel Hammonds, allegedly said the suspects did not live there but said deputies could search the home.
“Once inside, deputies and investigators found one suspect attempting to gain entry into the attic and heard the other suspect on the roof,” according to a release from the RCSO. “When they went back outside to try and make contact, the suspect on the roof leapt off and tried to run from deputies, but was quickly apprehended.”
Joshuah Stephens and Terry Stephens were charged with armed robbery. Hammonds is charged with willful obstruction of law enforcement officers. All three are held in the Rockdale County Jail without bond.