Albany Police are going after gangsters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Police are going after gangsters

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Deputy Chief Nathaniel Clark Deputy Chief Nathaniel Clark

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Fourteen Albany men will go on trial next month for street gang terrorism.  Prosecutors and investigators say it's proof the Albany Gang Unit is having success bringing gang members to justice.

A person convicted of street gang participation could spend 15 years behind bars, besides the time for other crimes they are charged with could bring.

Albany Gang Unit leaders and prosecutors say more suspected gang members going on trial, possibly facing decades in prison, is cutting crime in Albany.

Five members of the Bloods are scheduled for trial March 15th, charged with taking part in the shooting of Donald Winchester in the parking lot of the Carver Pool June 16th. D. A. Greg Edwards says that is one of three powerful gangs with members facing trial next month.

"We have southside Bloods, and we have Rattlers, but the Black Gangsta Disciples have been a very active gang in this community," Edwards said.

Five members of the Black Gangsta Disciples are also scheduled for trial in March, charged with aggravated assault and gang participation for beating a man with glass bottles July 31st.

"The gang unit has been very effective," Edwards said.

Based on the arrests, based on the community's perception, and based on the education officers are receiving we are experiencing a decrease in gang activity," said  said Albany Gang Unit Division Commander Nathaniel Clark.

The Albany Gang Unit went on the streets in December 2008. The latest crime statistics show that violent crime in Albany is down, and the Gang Unit says people in the community are the reason, giving them the information they need to bust the gangsters.

"People see we are serious about eradicating gangs in our city. They are calling now giving us information," Clark said.

And now those gang members are facing trial, and possible decades in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say that is being seen on the streets.

 "That's absolutely the message that young people need to understand. The gang involvement is something that is going to cost you a lot of time in prison,"  Edwards said.

The Albany Gang Unit continues to call on the public to let them know about gang activity. They say that helps them make arrests, send gangsters to trial, and make the streets of Albany safer.

And Prosecutors say the 14 men facing gang participation charges is just the start, with many more suspected gang members being scheduled for trial in coming months.

The Albany Gang Unit made more than 400 arrests in 2009. 85 percent of those arrested were adults.

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