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UAlbany Recognizes Volunteers of the Midtown Neighborhood Watch

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



Tom Gebhardt, director of Personal Safety & Off-Campus Affairs, and neighborhood resident

The Midtown Neighborhood Watch involves patrols by resident volunteers, college students and long term neighbors to monitor conditions and disseminate appropriate safety information to residents in the patrol area.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 27, 2009) -- The University at Albany Police Department (UPD), in conjunction with the Albany Police Department (APD) and the College of St. Rose, honored 16 volunteers of the Midtown Neighborhood Watch program at a ceremony on April 24 at the APD Center Station. The program, in its fourth year, involves patrols by resident volunteers, college students and long term neighbors to monitor and report unusual activity and unsafe conditions, as well as disseminate appropriate safety information to residents in the patrol area.

At the ceremony, volunteers were recognized for their efforts in furthering the program's objectives and mission. Awards were presented to the three current  Midtown Neighborhood Watch captains: UAlbany student Kyle Madden and residents Steve Johnson, member of the Beverwyck Neighborhood Association, and Alfredo Balarin.

"The Midtown Neighborhood Watch has been able to sustain itself for over three years because of the commitment of its volunteers night in and night out and the unique partnership of the Albany Police Department, University at Albany Police Department, College of St. Rose Safety & Security Department and the Beverwyck and Pine Hills Neighborhood Associations," said Thomas Gebhardt, director of Personal Safety & Off-Campus Affairs at UPD and Midtown Neighborhood Watch volunteer.

The program stems from the strong belief that the safety and conditions in the neighborhoods involved can be drastically improved if long term neighbors and college students and staff work closely with local city agencies. Volunteers travel in groups of two or more wearing “Neighborhood Watch” hats and highly visible flashing light armbands, and utilize cell phones for communication.  In addition, volunteers distribute appropriate information and tips based upon any safety incidents that occur in the area. The watch program also has a planning committee which meets monthly to improve the neighborhood watch and discuss safety and quality of life conditions in the patrol area.

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Distinguished Professor James Acker, Collins Fellow
UAlbany Faculty

Nearly 30 years ago, James Acker left a thriving law practice in North Carolina to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in academia at the University at Albany.

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