On a night dedicated to promoting positive police-community partnerships, neighborhood safety and camaraderie, a new example of teamwork will begin.
During tonight’s National Night Out celebration in Schenectady, Rotterdam Watch and Schenectady Neighborhood Watch will announce the launch of the Capital District Neighborhood Watch Council. The new umbrella organization will unite the efforts of area neighborhood watch organizations.
Neighborhood watch groups train community members to keep an eye out for things that can affect the quality of life in their communities and teach them techniques to improve their security. Members patrol the streets, provide information to public safety officials, work with police to search for lost children and adults, and are prepared to react in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
National Night Out
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 35 Furman St.
What: Announcement on the formation of the Capital District Neighborhood Watch Council, refreshments, neighborhood walk through the Central State neighborhood.
When: 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Dance Force Studios, 2235 Broadway
What: Personal safety course for town residents, question-and-answer session with Rotterdam Police Department and Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department’s child safety ID program.
When: 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: Veteran’s Park, Locust Avenue
What: 5:30 p.m. neighborhood watch march, 6:30 p.m. safety demos with K-9s, DJ and live music, human foosball game, free admission to the City of Amsterdam Municipal Pool from 4 to 8 p.m., children’s games and activities, vendors, movie in the park at dusk.
When: 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Clifton Common Basketball Courts
What: Meet State Police K-9s, see fire and police equipment and talk with emergency responders. Children ages 6 to 12 can join Shenendehowa High School boys head basketball coach Tony Dzikas, UAlbany head basketball coach Will Brown and local sports broadcaster Rodger Wyland for a free-throw contest and basketball skills clinic.
To register for the skills clinic, contact the town of Clifton Park office at 348-7301.
With three shootings happening on the same Schenectady Street block in less than two weeks, crime is on the minds of many city residents. The training provided by neighborhood watch groups can help the public feel more secure, said Fred Lee, president of Schenectady Neighborhood Watch.
“Every firefighter, every policeman, gets thousands of hours of training and if we elect to live in an urban area, we have little or no training to survive here. So consequently, we have a million options to become victims. So the better trained we are, the better to avoid that,” he said.
The more neighborhood watch organizations can work together, the more effective they’ll be, said Lee.
“When a storm comes through the area, it doesn’t see those lines we’ve drawn on the map for different municipalities, so we need to be organized for that. And if children are lost or adults are lost, they don’t often stay inside the boundaries we draw, so if we’re searching for them, we need to be able to bring in mutual help from other adjoining neighborhood watch groups,” he said. “The criminals certainly don’t see the lines that we’ve drawn and say, ‘I guess I can’t go over to Schenectady and do a crime because I’m from Amsterdam.’ ”
Lee will oversee the newly formed Capital District Neighborhood Watch Council, which evolved from the successful collaboration of the Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Schenectady neighborhood watch groups.
So far, they are the only groups involved with the council, but members are being sought in an area that stretches from Glens Falls to Utica, as far east as Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and as far south as Hudson.
Organizations that wish to become involved should call 860-9896 or email [email protected]
The all-volunteer coalition plans to meet quarterly to share ideas, including fundraising strategies.
Neighborhood watch organizations across the country will hold community-building events tonight in honor of National Night Out. Schenectady’s group will host a neighborhood walk through the Central State neighborhood with members of the Schenectady Police Department.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: News, Schenectady County