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Albany looks to Waste Management for crime prevention

December 16, 2010

by Marissa Crary

Mayor Jerry Jennings speaks at a press conference announcing Waste Watch (Marissa Crary)

Waste Watch, a new neighborhood watch program, will have garbage collectors from the Waste Management Inc. of Texas, a private hauler in the city,  keeping an eye out for crime  while they are collecting garbage. The program was introduced today at Albany Police headquarters.

The new program will involve trained Waste Management drivers providing watchful eyes in local communities. According to Albany police Waste Management drivers observe, record and report incidents in the city and the surrounding region.

In a sense, the city is now counting on its private garbage hauler  to also keep an eye out for crime. The program, introduced in other states, including California, is expected to be implemented in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.

“The value this brings to your agencies and communities,” said Ken Bevis, district manager for Waste Management, is like a “mobile neighborhood watch program, (with) professionals trained to report emergencies and curious situations.”

All drivers will learn how to effectively observe and report crimes or suspicious activity while on their routes. Trucks will be outfitted with cell phones or two-way radios and packets for drivers to fill out at a safe interval to document incidents.

According to the city of Albany police department and Waste Management, Waste Management service employees spend approximately 6,000 hours a month observing the communities on their routes.“Men and women have been trained to do what we ask of them,” said Mayor Jerry Jennigs.”Much like the men and women of DGS.” General services employees collect solid waste from residential building with one to four units.

From Left- Ken Bevis, David Soares, Steven Krokoff, Jerry Jennings (Marissa Crary)

Jennings said Waste Management and DGS employees have successfully reported suspicious activity in the past.

“There is a job to do but a responsibility to the community,” Jennings said, “keeping our community safe with more eyes and ears.”
The new program will be of no cost to the participating cities and counties.

According to Waste Management, WM service professionals have in the past aided in stopping identity theft by observing and reporting individuals searching through waste bins.

Jennings said they are on the lookout for any change in crime rates, “anything to make a difference, we’re looking for results.”

The partnership with Waste Management will aid the city in providing crime mapping, a weekly accounting which will alert resident when and where certain crimes occur, said Steven Krokoff, the new Albany police chief.

“The vast majority of crimes are reported by eyewitnesses or victims,” said Albany County District Attorney David

Albany Police Department Headquarters on Henry Johnson Boulevard in Albany (Marissa Crary)

Soares.

City of Albany residents have diverse opinions of the new program.
“If it helps, you have to,” said Andrew Grant, an Albany resident.

Some residents are skeptical, “You can’t prevent crime, probably slow it down,” said Antoinette McCloud, another city resident. -30-

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