Since January, vehicles at the following Forsyth County fire stations have been broken into:
Fire Station 10 – 3680 Old Atlanta Road
Fire Station 3 – 6495 Wallace Tatum Road
Fire Station 4 – 3910 Evans Road
Fire Station 7 – 6320 Dahlonega Highway
Fire Station 1 – 234 Castleberry Industrial Drive
Forsyth County is taking measures to protect firefighters’ property after recent break-ins have plagued several stations.
Forsyth County commissioners voted unanimously at a work session on Tuesday to authorize the Forsyth County Fire Department to use up to $300,000 in reserve funds to improve surveillance of parking lots. Fire Chief Danny Bowman said an expert in corporate security has made several safety recommendations.
“They have recommended to me high resolution security cameras, enhanced exterior lighting, keycards swiped … security fencing where it is warranted,” Bowman said.
District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said she has spoken with Sheriff Ron Freeman about what the county could do to help and said the measure was “the least we can do.”
“This came up due to all the break-ins that we seem to be having at our fire stations, putting our firefighter’s vehicles at risk,” Mills said. “I feel like they have enough to worry about. They shouldn’t have to worry about their vehicles being broken into.”
Bowman said work with a security consultant could be done “possibly in the future.”
Responding to a question from commissioners asking if firefighters might be able to bring firearms, which have been stolen from several of the stations, inside until the measures could be put in place, Bowman said he had spoken with the sheriff and “can’t make that recommendation.”
Since January, numerous fire stations have been broken into in Forsyth County and metro-Atlanta.
“I had a conversation with a couple of sheriff’s deputies about this and it is not unique to Forsyth County,” District 2 Commissioner Rick Swope said. “This seems to be something that is increasing across the board.”
In January, five vehicles at Fire Station 10 on Old Atlanta Road were broken into overnight. Less than a week later, four current and one former station in Gwinnett were victims of similar overnight car break-ins.
At the time, a Gwinnett police official said it was possible the incidents were related, but had no confirmation.
Last week, vehicles at three west Forsyth fire stations, two in Alpharetta and one in downtown Dawsonville were victims of break-ins. Six firearms were taken from the Forsyth stations.
The following night, 11 vehicles at Fire Station 1 near downtown Cumming were entered. Division Chief Jason Shivers said firefighters at the station were aware of the other break-ins and that 10 of the cars were left unlocked top prevent them from being smashed in. Firefighters also began leaving valuable items at home.
While all of the cars were rummaged through, the only vehicle with its windows broken was locked, and a checkbook and cup full of change were stolen from the vehicles. No firearms were taken.