Neighborhood watch groups fighting crime - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Neighborhood watch groups fighting crime

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By Cade Fowler - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Two neighborhood watch groups met Tuesday in Albany to take back their streets.

It wasn't a game of hoops that had the bleachers filled at Henderson Gymnasium, but the people here Tuesday afternoon were looking for a win against crime.

"More people should join in. Just like the bad is trying to take over we can keep it like we used to have it," said Gladys Jackson.

Jackson says over the years she's watched her neighborhood go from safe and inviting to a place where she's afraid to leave her home after dark.

"I was working at Howard Johnson and I used to walk across the Flint River bridge at midnight. Now I'm afraid to open my door at 12:00."

Willie Ross wants to see that change.

He says "What we do is we go door to door and we teach them they don't have to be afraid no more. And we're letting the crooks know. I'm one of the ones letting the crooks know we want our neighborhoods back."

Ross heads up the neighborhood watch program on Albany's south and east side. He says he's seen crime drop in south Albany and meetings like these provide people with an opportunity to share concerns, suggestions, and discuss matters like Monday's police involved shooting on West Gordon.

"I think the police were dead right. We're proud of them. We think they did an outstanding job and so does the neighborhood," said Ross.

It's also a chance for local law enforcement, often present at these meetings, to get the know the people they serve.

For Gladys Jackson, the watch program gives her more than just peace of mind.

She said, "It makes you think about the future and what the future holds."

The neighborhood watch programs in east and south Albany currently have about 350 members.The next meeting will be held the last Saturday of this month.

On Albany's west side, one neighborhood is taking a stand against crime met this afternoon.

About 50 residents who live in West Albany's Winterwood Subdivision formed a watch program 4 months ago after a string of burglaries in the neighborhood.

They received tips from police on what suspicious activity they look out for. So far, residents say the vigilance has paid off.

"Were looking out for our neighborhood. We're actually riding our streets and looking. The retired people are riding the streets during the day looking. We're working with the Albany Police Department and the Albany Police Department is doing an excellent job of working with us," said organizer Keith Laney.

One tip police gave is to be on the lookout for people who stop by during the day looking for odd jobs.

The neighborhood watch group is organizing a block party to be held sometime in October.

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