We found this post, by councilman Dave Emanuel, on Snellville Patch and thought Snellville Times readers would be interested. Reports that say a crime happened in Snellville when it happened outside the city happen all the time. Do you think the news people will ever get it right?
Snellville Patch recently posted a headline claiming Police Investigating Possible Homicide in Snellville. (Later changed to Man’s Body Found Near Pasture in Snellville.) Those headlines are not only inaccurate and misleading, they paint a false picture of crime within the city.
As a member of the Snellville City Council, I’m admittedly sensitive to news reports that show my city in a negative light. On the other hand, my duties as a council member are to serve the citizens of the city. Standing silent in the face of false “news reports” does not serve citizen interest.
Reports that falsely state a crime occurred in Snellville are problematic on several levels. To the uninitiated, it would seem to make little difference whether a crime is committed within the Snellville city limits, or in the adjacent area of unincorporated Gwinnett County. In fact, one of the most attractive aspects of living within the city of Snellville is an extremely low crime rate, which is a direct consequence of an outstanding police department.
Crime falsely reported as having been committed within the city does not accurately reflect on city police department success with many initiatives that have minimized crime. It also creates a false image of the city having a much higher crime rate than it does in fact.
That isn’t to imply that Gwinnett County police are doing a poor job. They do an excellent job. However, the challenges within the unincorporated areas of the county are much greater and often of a different nature than those faced by city police departments. Gwinnett is a huge county and officers have to cover a lot of ground; they can’t possibly have the same presence of a city department.
Like many other cities in the area, Snellville has worked hard to build a sense of community and ensure public safety. As a result, most people like living within their communities, and feel safe. False reporting of crime location tarnishes the work done by cities and the reputations they’ve built.
It would be nice if the news media reported accurately, but that’s not likely to happen. Writing “Snellville” (or any other city) is quicker and easier than writing “unincorporated Gwinnett County” or preceding a city name with the word “near”. Yet the reality remains that there are advantages to living within an incorporated city, and safer streets and neighborhoods are at the top of the list.