Frustrated business owners meet with the Chief - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Frustrated business owners meet with the Chief

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

October 22, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany's Police Chief says he'll tell his officers to get to know convenience store workers on their beats to help protect them better. Monday night, we reported on a group of store owners fed up with crime.

They say Albany Police don't do enough to prevent or solve crimes. On Wednesday afternoon, they brought their concerns to Chief James Younger.  

For dozens of Albany and Dougherty County convenience store owners, these are tough times. "It's scary right now. It's scary," said business owner Hemang Patel.

Recent scary scenes like a smash and grab burglary at the Oasis on South Slappey have them with their guards up. "Nowadays there are a lot of robberies and break-ins going on in the stores," said A&S Food Owner Dave Patel.

"This is a real concern right now. Police need to act," said H. Patel.

Store owners say they aren't pleased with police response to crimes over the past three months. "We call police and we haven't gotten proper response and investigation from the police," said H. Patel. So about 25 businessmen crowded into APD headquarters to voice those concerns Wednesday afternoon.

Albany Police Chief James Younger along with other law enforcement listened and took notes. "I really think that it's important to get their impression on what we can do to help enhance their level of safety," said Younger.

Chief Younger says a big issue is budget. 10 years ago, APD had 33 more officers in the budget. "In fact, we're taking about 10,000 more calls than we did ten years ago," said Younger. But he says the department is doing the best job with what they have and they're willing to go further to help ease the fears of business owners.

"One of the things we can start pretty soon is having our officers stop by the businesses, getting to know the business owners," said Younger. That's just one of a handful of solutions reached at the meeting. Solutions include updating owners on open cases and being more visible especially at closing time.

"He told us and promised us he heard our concerns and will try to send more patrol in the evening time," said H. Patel.

"We have hopes that they will do some positive requests," said D. Patel. Store owners say November and December are rough crime months so they hope the requests work.

"So we get less crime and less robberies," said D. Patel. Less crime is good news for them and police.

Albany Police will beef up patrols from mid-November through the end of December utilizing overtime.  The extra patrol will make them more visible during the high-crime holiday season.    

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