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Residents in NW Atlanta band together against crime

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ATLANTA -

Residents of a northwest Atlanta neighborhood are coming together to try and put together a rash of unusual burglaries. A pillowcase-brandishing bandit is breaking into homes and making off with whatever they can fit into the case.

Police and residents gathered at a church hall on Thursday to search for solutions to an increase in dangerous crime in the Mount Paran Community.

"We've actually had some armed robberies, people held at gunpoint in their homes and people are generally terrified about the situation that's going on," said Elizabeth Morris, the head of neighborhood security.

There have also been numerous so-called pillow case burglaries.

 "People going around with pillowcases and they're putting silver in it. They're going to homes where the homeowners are sitting there," said Taryn Bowman of the Mount Paran Citizens Association.

Police gave residents some crime fighting ideas, including keeping an eye on suspicious characters.

Mary Bethea says her son did just that when he took a picture of a truck that police are investigating. She says after they left her home she believes the men struck somewhere else.

The increase in thefts has prompted a lot of residents to sign up with the Mount Paran Citizens Association. The group has hired off-duty Atlanta police officers to patrol the area in addition to regular APD squad cars going through. They say collectively they intend to put a big dent on the crime that has hit their community.

"Be assured that we all taking precautionary measures. We are meeting with police and community leaders and we're going to put a stop to this," Bethea said.

Authorities advised residents to make sure their security systems are up to date.

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