EDC: Crime perception is wrong - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

EDC: Crime perception is wrong

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

August 1, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany economic developers say the perception that Albany is a dangerous place isn't accurate-- and needs to change.

They know families check out crime rates in areas before they make a move. The same can be said for businesses scouting out new locations to set up shop.

So with a recent rash of burglaries and car break-ins, how are Economic Development leaders in Albany, keeping businesses interested in relocating to the good life city?

As a former reporter, Barbara Rivera-Holmes isn't naïve about crime in Albany. "No community is without crime. It's not unique to Albany. It's not unique to anywhere. It's everywhere, so we just have to make sure that as an EDC that we promote the good things and as a community, we promote the good things."

And as the new Marketing Director for the Dougherty County Economic Development Commission, that's just what she does. "The only way we're going to make this community better, is if we do it."

A sentiment special projects director Justin Strickland shares. He says compared to other cities in our area, crime is average, but the community is above average in so many other ways.

"Crime is just a portion of what companies look at when they are interested in Albany. Our available infrastructure is good, our buildings are good. We have a great workforce, a great education system, so some of those things outweigh the fact that we have an average crime rate."

And he says if the perception of Albany is that it is a crime-riddled town, that perception must change.

"In Albany, we need to change those perceptions. We need people that live here to be cheerleaders for Albany and accentuate the positive things that we have here. We have a lot of positive things."

Another plus to Albany, according to the Economic development commission, is the low cost of living the city offers.

It also boasts of the transit system, airport and college system here.

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