Spitzer Presents Neighborhood Watch Awards
New York State Attorney General Spitzer today recognized 13 neighborhood and community watch organizations for their efforts in creating safer and healthier communities and boosting civic pride.
The awards were presented at Spitzer's Fourth Annual Neighborhood Watch Conference, "The Promise and Power of Neighborhood Watch: Building Stronger Neighborhoods Through Preparation, Prevention and Intervention", in which community leaders, local law enforcement, and neighborhood activists gather for a series of workshops and information sessions focusing on topics ranging from preparing for emergency in your community to reducing gang violence, to forging relationships with local law enforcement and government leaders to promoting diversity and unity.
"This year's award recipients were selected because they send a clear message that their neighborhood is unified, caring, and organized, and will not tolerate crime, drugs, or violence in their communities," said Spitzer. "I applaud their dedication and accomplishments."
The Attorney General's Neighborhood Watch Awards of Excellence were earned by the following groups:
South End Block Captains Program (Albany)
Established in 1996, the South End Block Captains Program has been the driving force behind Albany's Weed and Seed Program. Over the past six years, the block captains have transformed a drug-infested city park into an asset, which is now the home of the Weed and Seed Community Center and a summer camp program.
Cedargrove Neighborhood Action (Cheektowaga)
The Cedargrove Neighborhood Action Committee works with local officials to improve the quality of life in the Erie County community of Cheektowaga. The group presses for greater code enforcement of abandoned and dilapidated housing, conducts street and park patrols with the local police department, and organizes an annual Night Out Against Crime Celebration.
Wyndover Woods Neighborhood Watch (Greenburg)
This Westchester County-based group focuses on a 168-unit cooperative apartment community. Building captains and other volunteers walk the complex's property reporting unusual activities directly to the police. In its three years of existence, the group has reduced the incidence of vandalism, graffiti, and burglaries in the area.
Hartsdale Neighborhood Watch (Hartsdale)
Organized in 2000, the Hartsdale Neighborhood Watch has focused on crime prevention and encouraging mutual assistance and concern among neighbors in its Westchester County community. Section and building captains organize walking patrols to observe and report suspicious activity. The group has developed an informational website offering safety tips and emergency contact information.
Neighborhood Watch Coalition (Jamestown)
The Coalition is made up of 30 active neighborhood watch groups. Among its significant projects are a clean-up and repair program for city playgrounds, a nurturing program for children who have been the victims or witnesses to violence, and a child identification project with local police.
Johnson City Neighborhood Watch Groups (Johnson City)
Residents of the north and south side communities of Johnson City joined together to regularly patrol their neighborhood streets. Their contributions have resulted in local law enforcement arresting several individuals who were targeting the elderly for crime. In addition, the neighborhood watch groups promote the Citizen's Police Academy and are active in National Night Out Against Crime activities.
Long Island Association of Crime Prevention Officers (Long Island)
For more than 20 years, the Long Island Association of Crime Prevention Officers has offered training to law enforcement personnel, crime prevention practitioners, community activists and watch groups in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester counties. Seminars have covered topics such as fraud, bias crimes, robbery prevention, and sexual assault response. The group recently added a new seminar: first response to terrorism.
New Cassel/Westbury Drug -- Long Island Fighters (Long Island)
Based in Nassau County, the members of the New Cassel/Westbury Drug Fighters have been working with law enforcement, Weed & Seed, and other local activists to rid the community of drugs, gang violence, and crime. In addition, the group offers an anti-drug education program to local schools.
Citizens for a Better New Rochelle (New Rochelle)
Now in its third year of existence, Citizens for a Better New Rochelle has been active in improving quality of life and decreasing crime through out their Westchester County community. Working with the police department, municipal housing authority, and clergy members the Citizens helped establish and staff the Community/Police liaison office. The group also conducts an aggressive education and safety training program, which includes the publication of a newsletter to encourage community involvement.
Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol (New York City, Queens)
Established in 1976, the Queens-based organization has 125 active members who work with the 104th Police Precinct to patrol their local neighborhood using their personal vehicles. The group has curtailed vandalism, and participated in a number of neighborhood beautification projects. The Patrol has also trained with the New York City Police Department and local volunteer ambulance corps in preparation for emergency mobilization and disaster drills. Over the years, patrol members have helped out with traffic control at accidents, fires, blackouts, and other emergency situations, including assistance on September 11, 2001.
The 114th Civilian Observation Patrol (New York City, Queens)
This Astoria-based group, now in existence for 22 years, has been involved in street surveillance using personal vehicles and bicycles. Patrol members have been active in crime prevention programs such as auto theft prevention, vehicle identification etching events, and Nation Night Out Against Crime. The watch group publishes the "Patrollers Quarterly", a newsletter featuring safety tips, an overview of community conditions, and community events.
Champlain Street - Frost Avenue - Iceland Park Block Club (Rochester)
Established in 1984, the Block Club has played an active role in reducing crime in a high-crime neighborhood. The group has implemented a neighborhood watch program, established a safety program for seniors, and participates in the annual National Night Out observance. Club members have also trained with the Rochester Fire Department's Community Emergency Response Team in order to respond to community-based disaster.
Lyell Avenue Revitalization Committee (Rochester)
For the past ten years, members of the Lyell Avenue Revitalization Committee have been working with law enforcement and City agencies to improve the living and working conditions in their Rochester community. The Committee sponsors safe havens, youth programs, and bicycle rodeos to promote safe recreation and community awareness.