Stop The Violence working to improve communication with cops - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Stop The Violence working to improve communication with cops

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Stop the Violence, an Albany crime advocacy group, says better communication between the community and law enforcement is helping fight crime. The group is working to get more folks to talk with cops and help them take back their streets.

Stop The Violence leaders say they have found some people in Albany are frightened to talk to the police. Now they are trying to bridge the gap, and help those people find the right people for help.

Men hanging out, sitting on this rock wall at night outside the Southlake community in South Albany had the residents frightened. They would call Ingrid Wilcox, the president of their renter's association, but not the police.

Wilcox said "My seniors come to my door all the time with their complaints. One of their concerns, the guys being out in front of the houses. And they are afraid to come out at night and everything."

Stop the Violence founder Bishop Frederick Williams says his group has learned this is common. Many people, especially crime victims, don't talk to law enforcement.

Williams said "They are just thinking it's useless to fight back, or to say I'm not going to take it anymore. So it's not easy at all."

So Stop the Violence is trying to get people to sit down with police and sheriff's deputies, and ask questions and voice concerns. Law enforcement says that will help them fight crime.

Albany Police Captain Michael Persley said "If we ever get people to come out and people to open up about what they see and what they won't tolerate anymore, then I can tell you over a period of time you will see a definite decrease in crime."

Law enforcement says just telling them what appears suspicious on your street can often prevent crimes.

 Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Lt. Terron Hayes said "We encourage citizens to call, ask questions. To voice what's going on in their community, so if there's a problem we can help solve that problem."

Ingrid Wilcox did. She told police and city leaders at the Stop The Violence meeting about her association's concerns with men hanging out near their homes.  And she says she got action.

Wilcox said "So it seems to be working, because I haven't seen the guys in the neighborhood lately."

Crime advocates trying to improve communication to stop violence. 

Wilcox said one other concern for her neighbors was the lack of lighting around their homes. She met with Code Enforcement head Mike Tilson and said he gave them some ideas to help the situation.

Stop The Violence leaders say many people just refuse to talk to investigators, and one of their goals is to change that.

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