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Neighborhood watch groups to form council

ALBANY, Ga. -- Members of neighborhood watch groups, as well those who want to form one, will meet at Flint RiverQuarium Adventure Theater on Pine Avenue Saturday.

According to Wes Smith, assistant Albany city manager, the focus of the 10 a.m. meeting will be to review and discuss the initial draft of a proposed set of bylaws for an "umbrella" organization of neighborhood watch groups.

Smith said that a June 15 bylaw drafting committee has selected as the "base document," existing bylaws of the Athens/Clarke County council group. However, the model document must be "customized" to fit the City of Albany and Dougherty County.

"This will be an ongoing council of watch groups throughout the city," said Ward II commissioner Ivey Hines. "It's an opporturnity to share and to stay abreast of new ideas."

Hines said that along with community members concerned with crime, officials including Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbord and Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards plan to attend.

According to Hines, unified crime prevention groups can even improve economic conditions for an area by helping to attract new industry. Hines said the meeting, which is open to the public, should last about an hour.