Neighborhood gets rude wake-up call - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Neighborhood gets rude wake-up call

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June 3, 2005

by Robbyn DeSpain

Albany-- How often do you think about crime on your street? Most of us don't think about it until we are forced to. Some residents are working together to tell thieves, "Not in our neighborhood."

The quiet streets in Albany's Lake Park neighborhood are normally safe, but last week a senior citizen was robbed at gunpoint in his front yard. That convinced neighbors it was time to form a neighborhood watch.

APD Lt. Tracey Barnes says, "A neighborhood watch program is actually a bunch of citizens getting together in a common area who live in that common area and interact and getting to know each other. Actually identifying and knowing who belongs in that neighborhood and claiming back their neighborhood as theirs."

About 30 people attended their first neighborhood watch meeting Thursday night to find out what it takes to keep crime out of their homes.

Cecil Fowler has lived in the area 24 years and says the program is a step in the right direction. "Anything we can do to try and thwart this thing, because it's scary. My little granddaughter, I can't even talk about it around her because she gets very frightened."

So does the program really scare off potential criminals? "People know and they don't want to be in that area cause they know that the citizens who live there, they know who belongs there and who does not belong there, and they will report who is not supposed to be there," said Lt. Barnes.

If you are interested in starting a watch program in your neighborhood, all you have to do is call your police department. It's a move that can help you protect your valuables, and most importantly, your family.

Police say a few simple things can help protect you. You should always take anything valuable out of your car, and keep it locked. Always keep your home locked as well.

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