A girl who told police last month that a man attempted to abduct her on N. Hairston Road as she walked to school with two other girls gave a false report, an assistant precinct commander with DeKalb County police said Monday night.
When a citizen at a public safety meeting at mentioned concerns about recently reported child abduction attempts on N. Hairston, Capt. A.J. Andrzejewski, assistant precinct commander in Tucker, who was a panelist at the meeting, said one of the cases was "a false report of a crime," while the second child abduction claim is still under investigation.
After the meeting, Patch asked Andrzejewski for more information. He said the girl who made the first claim acknowledged that "she did it for attention" a few days after she initially reported it.
In February, the 11-year-old girl said that she was walking to from the apartments with her sister and a friend when they saw a man following them. The girl reported that the man later grabbed her and tried to cover her mouth; the girls screamed and the man fled the scene, it was reported.
In the other alleged incident still under investigation - which was reported about two weeks later - a nine-year-old girl said she was walking to her apartment at the Stonebridge complex when a suspect confronted her in the breezeway and dragged her to a nearby wooded area. Police have said the girl escaped unharmed by screaming and kicking.
Monday's meeting featured panelists who made statements and addressed questions, including DeKalb's Solicitor General Sherry Boston, State Rep. Michele Henson, Memorial Drive Merchants Association chair Nick Goebeler, other members of DeKalb County Police as well as code enforcement. Victory Church's pastor, Kenneth Lee Samuel, M.Div., D.Min, was the moderator. Also in attendance in the audience were Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Jay Cunningham of the DeKalb County Board of Education, among others. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis shared some crime stats at the beginning of the meeting, including a reduction in violent crime.
"We're seeing progress," he said, adding: "We know all is not finished until our citizens feel safe."
Indeed, some parents and citizens who spoke up at the meeting still worry about children's safety.
One woman said she sees children playing unsupervised, and that she witnessed one child nearly get hit by a delivery truck.
A mother who addressed the panel said her child had been jumped and threatened and she hadn't received assistance in getting the matter resolved (a member of the panel offered to speak with her after the meeting about getting help).
The parent who asked about the abduction attempts said her son was approached by a man in a black car offering to give the child a ride to the bus stop. The mother said her son refused to take him up on it, telling the man he didn't go with strangers.
While she praised DeKalb's new Internet Crimes Against Children unit, which has arrested 33 online predators and was also represented at the meeting, she said there were plenty of sexual predators watching children in their own community.
"They're living in our complexes, they're watching our children. They've got their eye on them," she said.