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Neighborhood watch leader urges responsibility

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An east Albany neighborhood watch leader says watch groups are essential to keeping communities safe, but members must be responsible.

The George Zimmerman trial is once again bringing up that issue. He's the Florida neighborhood watch leader charged with murdering an unarmed teenager.  

When criminals stole valuables from Harold Williams' front porch more than 20 years ago, he started a neighborhood watch group. 

It's still going strong, keeping his community safe the right way.    

Colonial Village Neighborhood watch block captain Harold Williams is doing a job similar to what George Zimmerman did, but he says he makes sure he keeps an eye on these streets the proper way so he doesn't end up in Zimmerman's shoes.  

"Really bad because someone lost their son, now he's on trial and he could go to prison or go to jail, it's really bad and makes block captains should think when their out there right now" said Harold Williams, Neighborhood block captain.

Williams organized a neighborhood watch group in his community back in 1991. 

There's still crime.  Neighbors had to replace flowers they planted to beautify the area after someone dug them up. And that's certainly not the only crime Williams has seen. 

"I went into a house where a young man was at, he was in there and I asked him why he was in there and he said he was looking around, I said if you don't have permission to be in this house you don't need to be in it, this is right in this neighborhood and he preceded to keep going and I went to call 911,"  said Williams.

Williams has a permit to carry a weapon, but there's only one situation in which he would use it.   

"I think in self defense, I don't think you should just fire at nobody because you have a gun and a permit," said Williams.  

The neighborhood watch training he got from Albany Police taught him not to depend on his weapon and to call 911 if he sees something suspicious.  

"I have a permit to carry mine, so if I go walking like 5 O clock in the morning and it's dark, I'll take mine because all the young people jump on people,murdering, stealing from them," said Williams.

So I take it for my protection, but I'm not going to shoot it unless they jump me, that's a different story," said Williams.  

He's confident if he follows proper neighborhood watch rules, he can help keep his neighborhood safe and stay out of trouble himself.  

Williams encourages all neighborhood watch block captains to take classes through the Albany Police Department.  

If you're interested in those classes or starting a neighborhood watch group call (229) 431-3270

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