Gangs transcend generations - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gangs transcend generations

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  As Albany police continue their fight against gang violence, they're faced with a problem that now spans generations. Hardened organized criminals in their 30's, are still active in the gangs. And police tell us some of these gang members are raising their children to become gangsters.

Agents say most people think Albany gang members are teenagers, committing petty crimes for a few bucks. But investigators say some gangs are more organized, led by older members. And they're seeing more kids raised in gangs.

In their investigation of Albany gangs, agents say the street gangs here are just like the old Mafia, with fathers and mothers teaching their kids the family business.

"Yes unfortunately we have. Even encountered pictures where a father will have his children in his arms. And in the picture he is throwing up a gang sign," APD Lt. Tony Moore said.

Agents say the Black Gangsta Disciples are one of Albany's more organized and criminally minded gangs, and the arrest of two men in their 30s and another 26-years-old for gang participation shows that gang members are not quitting in adulthood.

And informants tell them second generation gang kids are on the streets. "Sometimes a child is brainwashed at such at an early age that they are driven to believe that me hurting you is the only way to get to the next hurdle. Or that me selling drugs to you for money is the only way to get that next day," Sheriff Kevin Sproul said.  

The D. A. and Sheriff say they have seen families encouraging their teenagers into gang life, to use them as the bread winner.

"Selling drugs for the ancestors. For their relatives, so they could make ends meet,"  Sproul said.

"A situation where if the gang activity has provided them with income, they turn a blind eye," D. A. Greg Edwards said.

A blind eye that has Albany seeing the cycle of gang crime continue.

Law enforcement says parents need to stay vigilant about who their children spend time with, to make sure they are not lured into gang activity. The Albany Police Gang Unit, D. A.'s Office, and Sheriff's Office all offer help to parents if they have worries or information about their kids and gangs.

Many street gangs originated back in the 1960's. Sheriff Sproul, who has been working in gang prevention for 20 years, says they are starting to see third generation gang members in California where the grandfather, father, and son are all gang members.

      • Click HERE to learn more about Albany's Gang Unit

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