Local community bans together after break-ins

Local community bans together after break-ins

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SNELLVILLE, Ga. -

One Metro Atlanta community is putting its safety into its own hands.

SNAP, the Snellville Neighborhood Alert Program was started by Snellville native Tricia Rawlins, a few years ago after a rash of break-in's in her neighborhood.

"I chose that name because I wanted to stay away from "watch" because of the Zimmerman issue at the time. We are not Zimmerman's out here, we are proactive residents looking for a way to stay ahead of crime," said Rawlins.

The group consists of 71 members, in 43 different neighborhoods throughout the city.

Steve Larson has been a member for 3 or 4 months. "If you watch the TV shows, the police say, someone must have seen something, well we're trying to be those people that have seen something," he said.

Members keep an eye out -- if they see anything suspicious, they alert each other on Facebook and call police.

"Our police department's message to Snellville is, call call call when you suspect something," says Rawlins.

Rawlins takes it a step further though. She patrols the streets of Snellville at night. "You can see me all times of day. I'm here as late as 3:00, 4:00 in the morning sometimes."

The concept began a few years ago after her neighborhood had 46 break-ins all around the same period of time. Even she was victimized. "It was a gut wrenching feeling of being violated."

Snellville Police Cheif Roy Whitehead says the group's proactive approach has actually helped.

"We have been able to make some arrests based off of the information and the alertness and awareness of people who know that things have gone on."

The group hopes to expand SNAP beyond the Snellville city limits. They would like to get upwards of 150 neighborhoods involved in the crime fighting effort.

"Snellville is a great place to live, I believe, and going to continue to be that way, because of things like this," said Larson.

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