August 6, 2002
By Mitch Kimbrell
After a string of high-profile kidnapping cases in neighborhoods across the country, police say it's as important as ever to get to know your neighbors.
That's what National Night Out hopes to accomplish. The annual celebrations in Albany keep growing.
Just like any other south Georgia summer night; grilling, kids playing, families getting together. But this fellowship has more than fun as its goal. Albany police are hoping these neighbors will get together to help fight crime.
"Get to know each other. Get to know their families. Get to know their kids. Get to know their police officers and be able to call them and ask them for help when needed," says Albany Police Sgt. Joe Moored.
Police say that the best method in fighting burglaries and neighborhood crimes is having an extensive neighborhood watch system.
"The neighbors can pretty much tell what's suspicious going on in their neighborhood and know when things look out of place," says APD Cpl. Tywon Heath.
Niki Wells of Albany agrees.
"That's very important to know your neighbor. I live in a small community where my next two neighbors are very important to me and I know when someone is going to their home that's not supposed to be going into there."
In addition to meeting neighbors, Albany police want these people to get to know the officers.
"We want to bridge the gap between the citizens and the police department and that way we can address the issues that affect our quality of life here in Albany," says Moored.
"We try to get the citizens involved with the police officers," says Heath. "That way, they won't be so afraid to talk to us and they know that we're friendly also."
The way to fight neighborhood crimes? Be cooperative with police and get to know that person in the blue suit.
Albany celebrated National Night Out in all four of its police districts. The event is held near the beginning of every school year.