Schemika Foster, robbery and homicide detective with the Albany Police Department, offers safety tips for businesses and individuals at the Law Enforcement Center downtown. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — Everyone knows its a hard world out there, where unsuspecting individuals and business owners can be robbed or injured. Detective Schemika Foster with the robbery and homicide unit of the Albany Police Department has offered up some safety tips for beyond the holidays.
For businesses, Foster recommends a good lighting system as a starting point, as well as adequate surveillance. It’s better to have more than one employee in the store, in case one needs to call for help, Foster says, and train them to watch for suspicious “customers” inside the store.
“If it’s the middle of summer and someone comes in wearing a heavy coat, you need to take notice of that,” Foster said.
Foster advised individual to keep their purses closed, shop with friends, never flash too much money in a store and be aware of their surroundings.
“Criminals rely on convenience,” Foster said. “Watch yourself in parking lots. Look around to see who may be watching you. Walk the main roads and don’t take shortcuts or alleys.”
It’s a good idea for residents to join a neighborhood watch group, Foster said, and network with others to prevent crime.
“The citizens are our eyes and ears,” Foster said, “We can’t be everywhere.”
Foster recommended citizens consider taking courses offered by the Citizen’s Academy, a no-cost program offered by the APD to allow citizens to more effectively combat local crime. According to officials, the academy provides an understanding of the functions of the APD and how the department interacts within the criminal justice system. Participants also learn how officers respond to the needs of the community through Community Oriented Policing (COP) and receive actual hands-on training in areas that police utilize in solving crimes. For information on the Citizen’s Academy call (229) 483-6298.