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The Sheriff Speaks: Helpful tips from Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul

By   /   August 30, 2009  /   Comments

Watch Groups (Part 1)

With the recent rash of home invasions and burglaries, are you worried about crime in your neighborhood? You are not alone. More than likely, your next door neighbor is probably as concerned as you are.

Crime destroys neighborhoods and can shatter lives. Crime can also cause a climate of fear and mistrust with one another. Residents withdraw into their homes and lose contact with each other. As neighbors withdraw from each other, crime increases. Crime tends to thrive in neighborhoods where residents keep to themselves and do not get involved. Although Dougherty County has three law enforcement agencies, the police or deputy sheriffs cannot be everywhere at all times. Law enforcement needs the eyes and ears of concerned and caring citizens. We must all work together in preventing crime in our neighborhoods. So what can you do to prevent or reduce crime in your neighborhood?

If you live in a neighborhood that does not have an active neighborhood watch program, you need to form a small watch group with neighbors who live in close proximity to you. A common fault that I see being played out over and over is apathy. Sometimes we only tend to be concerned about our own property or we do not want to get involved because we might have to go to court.

Neighborhood watch groups make a criminal’s job tougher when citizens are watching out for each other. Neighbors need to look out for each other and communicate with each other about suspicious activity in and around their neighborhood.

After forming your small group, hold an initial meeting and hear the concerns of your neighbors and concentrate on their needs. If possible, elect a captain or chairperson who will be responsible in conveying or relaying updated information about crime or suspicious activity to the group.

Your group needs to establish a regular means of communication such as a newsletter and/or possibly using email. Make sure to collect telephone numbers and keep them in a safe place in case of an emergency.

Also be sure to keep all of the group’s telephone numbers updated on a regular basis. Have a law enforcement official attend your first organized meeting. You can call me at the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office at 430-6508. You can also contact a representative of the Albany Police Department at 431-2100 or the Dougherty County Police Department at 430-6600.

Having a law enforcement official attend your meeting will greatly benefit your group. The representative will give your group expert advice and prepare them with a plethora of knowledge on what to look for and how to handle various situations that may arise.

In next month’s article, I will discuss the three main areas that your group should focus on and how you should respond to suspicious activity. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call my office.

Written by Kevin Sproul

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  • Published: 2193 days ago on August 30, 2009
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  • Last Modified: August 30, 2009 @ 10:37 am
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  1. Schemeka — Thanks! Please do e-mail me the flyer to ajournal@thealbanyjournal.com and we’ll help spread the word. Thanks for the info — and for serving and protecting!

  2. Det. Schemika Foster says:

    Hey Kevin,

    Great article. We are also implementing a new service here at the Albany Police Department called Operation Preventive Engraving. Please advise citizens of the City of Albany they may go to the City’s official website and download an application. We are engraving items within there homes that are high valued and easily removalable. We are trying assist citizens, whom may become victims, with identifing their items upon possible recovery. If you would like, I can send you a copy of the flyer and form directly.

    Det. Schemika Foster
    Pawnshop/Intel Unit Coordinator

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