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Blair Co. community crime watch meeting held

By: Lauren Hesnley

ALTOONA, Pa. -- Operation Our Town is a partnership led by area businesses to fight drugs and violent crime in Blair County. They've assembled neighborhood watches all throughout the county in response to the growing problems.

"I have been a firm believer in the neighborhood crime watch program for well over 15 years," said Blair County Sheriff Mitch Cooper. "We believe that law enforcement cannot handle the crime problems in our neighborhood alone. We need to form partnerships."

At the first countywide Neighborhood Watch meeting of 2014, community members gathered to learn more. They were taught the very basics of crime watch.

"Be aware of your surroundings, neighbor looking out for neighbor and looking out for suspicious activity," Cooper said.

Operation Our Town's mission is just not about preventing crime, it is also about keeping neighborhoods safer. That is why other leaders talked about the biggest emergency threat to Blair County.

"It used to be flooding in Blair County but right now it is hazmat, whether it is at a chemical site or by road or by rail," said Blair County Emergency Management Director Dan Boyles.

Officials said events like these are needed to keep the community safer and making it a better place to live.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times