Neighborhood Watch holds candidate forum - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Neighborhood Watch holds candidate forum

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Robert Montgomery  and his wife Robert Montgomery and his wife
Harold Williams Harold Williams
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

East Albany neighborhood watch groups will sponsor a forum so you can meet Albany City Commission Candidates for Wards Two and Three.   Neighborhood Watch leaders want fighting crime to stay one of the top priorities in the city. 

The George Zimmerman case in Florida put a negative light on Neighborhood Watch for some people.  But these East Albany Watch groups want to make sure people work to keep their neighborhoods safe.

Harold Williams has been patrolling and watching the Colonial Village streets as Neighborhood Watch President since 1991.  He and other Albany Neighborhood Watch Groups are concerned by the level of interest today, especially among young people.

"This is what I'm concerned, what's going to happen after my day.  Who is going to take over, and go forward?  You got to have someone to carry the torch."

Williams say crime has been low in his neighborhood, so interest in the watch group has slipped. 

Robert Montgomery says East Town Subdivision Neighborhood Watch has seen increased growth lately because of increased crime.

Montgomery said "I hate to say it, but we had a couple of burglaries deep in the neighborhood here, and it sparked the interest."

The George Zimmerman trial and racial uproar around it brought questions about Neighborhood Watch groups.  These Watch leaders say that controversy did hurt their recruitment efforts.

 "Then when the case went like it did, people kind of backed off.  Kind of wondering what to do," Williams said.

 "It is what it is," Montgomery said. "And we've got to go on.  Whatever happened in Florida had not impact on this East Town Subdivision. And we got to go on."

But they want the community to know neighborhood watch groups are the most effective way to keep your streets safe and homes protected.  And they urge homeowners to get involved and help drive crime out of East Albany, starting with tonight's meeting.

 "Yes the meeting is tonight to draw awareness to that neighborhood watches are concerned.  Your City Commission has a lot, good role to what is going on in your community," Williams said.

Neighborhood Watch leaders say homeowners should not wait until crime happens in their neighborhood to get involved. The time to get involved is before criminals strike.

Neighborhood Watch leaders urge homeowners to attend the Citizen's Police Academy and get involved in the watch on their street.  They say calling police when you see something suspicious in your neighborhood is the best way to take back our streets.

The Neighborhood Watch City Commission candidates Forum for Wards Two and Three will start at 6:30 tonight at the Police Community Center 1721 East Oglethorpe.