Police: It takes a community to fight crime - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police: It takes a community to fight crime

June 28, 2007

Albany - - Community cooperation keeps many of you safe from crime. Albany city leaders and police rallied in a celebration of civilian crime fighting. Over the past year, several new neighborhood watch groups have formed. Albany Police Chief James Younger says that contributed to a decrease in crime in those communities. 

Don't want to be a victim of crime? Then stop it before it happens. That's what a number of you have done and public safety officials say that's what more people need to do. 

James Wheeler says his engine repair shop in Albany is a hotbed for thieves. This year, there have been at least three break-ins here.

"Two times vehicles were stolen off the lot," he says.

"Do you report it to police?" we asked.

"I have but I haven't been able to find out what's going on about it," Wheeler says.

So he thought he'd get clever with thieves.

"They stole one vehicle without a gate so then we put the gate up, put the chain on her, and a lock."

Chain locks weren't enough. Wheeler installed a fence after criminals hit him twice. It didn't work. Months later, they came back, stealing a car and driving it right through the fence.

Now, he says he's running out of options.

Many other people who experienced problems similar to Wheeler, put a stop to them.

"We've had a couple of incidents in our neighborhood and this is the reason we started this," says Perry Lamey of the Brentwood subdivision. 

He's not the only one.

Ruby Williams helped re-organize the East Albany Colonial Village watch.

"The reason I know it's working because we don't have any crime in the neighborhood right now," she says. 

Groups like these say they have a message for criminals.

"Were looking out for you. Were watching for you and were preparing for you," Williams says.

And they welcome people like Wheeler to trade in their frustration and fight back.

These neighborhood watch groups say they're not trying to play cop. But they say when they organize to look out for each other, it helps cops.

Several of those newly-formed neighborhood watch groups met at the city government building Thursday.

Representatives from Albany and Dougherty County Police applauded their efforts and encouraged them to get more community members involved.

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