Citizens attend gang awareness seminar - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Citizens attend gang awareness seminar

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Gang crimes are up but some people in Albany are determined to bring those gangs down. Wednesday night, they learned about gangs and how they can work together to get rid of them.

Things like bold gang graffiti in parts of Albany have A.D. Thomas on a mission. "The gangs are getting worse in Albany," said Thomas.

He wants to put a stop to a growing crime trend. "Something needs to be done," said Thomas. So he left his East Albany neighborhood and headed downtown.

"I came out to find out what's going on in the community, trying to get involved," said Thomas. Thomas was one of a few to gather at the government center as the Dougherty County School System and law enforcement teamed up for a gang awareness seminar.

The symbols and signs of gang members can vary by just a simple finger formation. Marc Fomby has been traveling all over the country for about 18 years studying gang trends. "A lot of information I get, I get straight from the kids" said Fomby.

Fomby had a notebook from one young girl as an example.  On the outside, it looks like simple reading and spelling.  Inside there was much more than ABC's. Fomby says those are things parents need to look out for. "Parents who are involved are more of a deterrent than those who don't have time," said Fomby.

"I think the main thing is education and that is what we do best," said Dougherty County School System Safety Coordinator Barbara Turner.

School and police leaders says education and intervention can lead to prevention. "By working together as a team, we can get things done," said Albany Police Assistant Chief Wilma Griffin.

That could change the fate of many kids headed down the wrong path.  "Maybe try and talk to some of the youth or whatever I can do to help them realize that trouble is in their way," said Thomas.

Thomas hopes he can help steer kids from that trouble. "I don't know," said Thomas, "I can try. That's all I can do is try," said Thomas.

He's now armed with more knowledge to help him on that trying mission.

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