Gang Task Force makes a dent in gang activity - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Task Force makes a dent in gang activity

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - In four months the Albany Gang Task Force has already made 40 arrests in 10 cases.

Now, they want more community involvement to help take back our neighborhoods. Monday, the task force unveiled a new website. It's a place where you can anonymously report gang problems directly to police. The gang unit now has nine full-time officers working to cut down on gang activity and crimes.

More than 15 gangs have been identified in Albany, groups the Gang Unit calls hybrid, home grown gangs.

"This is just a couple of kids getting together and saying we're going to dress in a certain manner and we're going to call ourselves, such and such," said Lt. Tony Moore, Albany Police Gang Task Force member.

To get their name out there, they're committing criminal acts. Over the last four months, the gang unit has struck back, making 10 cases and more than 40 arrests and while they're on the streets, they're uncovering other crime.

"It just so happened that we did recover a weapon inside a ditch. The weapon had been there of some time, but us, we don't know whether that weapon had been utilized in a crime some other time so we recovered the weapon and turned it over," said Moore.

The unit's been encouraged by their progress, but officers say they can do more if the community uses their newest tool, a website, to tip them off to the gang activity happening on their street.

"You can send an email to us anonymously and we will follow up on that email. We will also have to report on what we did as far as that email," said Moore.

They're also trying to cut off the gangs source of new recruits, by working in the classroom with school police but still say parents are the best line of defense.

"We've got to reach their parents, we've got to make sure they're on board with us," said Captain Mack Greene, Albany Police Gang Task Force member.

With intelligence meetings every two weeks and a database link between the District Attorney's office and the gang unit, the unit says they're slowly chipping away at the gang activity, making neighborhoods more livable.

Wednesday, the Gang Task Force will meet with local ministers at the Law Enforcement Center at two o'clock to update them on gang activity and show ministers their newest power point presentation aimed at keeping kids out of gangs.

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