Organizers want more involvement in neighborhood watch program - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Organizers want more involvement in neighborhood watch program

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Fran Blanford, Albany Resident Fran Blanford, Albany Resident
Patrolman Michelle Jones, APD Crime Prevention Patrolman Michelle Jones, APD Crime Prevention
B.J. Fletcher, Ward 3 Commissioner B.J. Fletcher, Ward 3 Commissioner
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An effort to get more people involved in neighborhood watches in northwest Albany kicked off tonight.     

It gained momentum after a stabbing death last week in a normally safe neighborhood. Six neighborhood watch programs got together at Sherwood Acres Elementary School to discuss how they can make their neighborhoods safer.  

Fran Blanford was a robbery victim five years ago and says she doesn't feel 100% safe in her own home.  

"Ummm.. 50% If you're ever robbed that takes most of it away," said Fran Blanford.  

Blanford and other residents attended the neighborhood watch meeting organized by Ward 3 Commissioner B.J. Fletcher to hear the issues affecting their community and how they can become part of the solution.  

"We talked about what the citizens can do, we talked about 311, 911, we talked about leaving your cars locked, we talked about lighting.. lighting is very big," said Ward 3 Commissioner B.J. Fletcher.    

Blanford agrees that not enough lighting in the area is a problem.  

"There's a lot of people that shouldn't be walking in the neighborhood, you have to be alert," said Blanford.  

Last week, 19-year old Robert Soilberry was stabbed to death just blocks from where the meeting took place. The case remains under investigation.  The man who stabbed him claims self-defense and hasn't been charged. Members of the Albany Police Crime Prevention Group say entering autos is a big problem and passed out information on how to avoid being a victim.

"Right now we are having an experience with a lot of entering autos in the community and we're asking everybody to remove their property from the vehicle and make sure their doors are locked," said Patrolman Michelle Jones with the APD Crime Prevention Group.

Commissioner Fletcher says a neighborhood watch program cannot be successful if you don't know your neighbors.  

"It is the neighborhood watches that's going to take back their neighborhood," said Fletcher.

"It does take people to help, we have too... we can't let our city go down," said Blanford.  

The next meeting is scheduled to take place May 19th. Commissioner Fletcher says they will meet the last Monday of each month at Sherwood Acres Elementary.  You can join the neighborhood watch program by Craig Maples at 229-347-2001 or Commissioner B.J. Fletcher at 229-854-9443.

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