Omega police tackle gangs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Omega police tackle gangs

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March 15, 2007

Omega - - Even a small town can have crime problems. Police in one South Georgia town say they're dealing with a growing gang problem. They want to put a stop to it before the problems get worse.

In Omega, the population is just more than 1,000 people. So why are things like graffiti so common around neighborhoods?

"Four or five get together and want to do something, like bad children. That's what this about here in Omega," says Tom Bennett.

He sits on the porch and watches the town show signs of a much larger city. He recalls people shooting at his friend's home.

"Right there on the window on the other side, shot it with a bb gun."

John Fletcher manages a convenience store off Alabama Avenue.

"People are disgusted here about it... the extent of their daily activity is coming in buying a blunt wrap and hanging out in front of the store."

When the sun goes down, they take to the streets, leaving their marks on businesses and street signs.

"It's petty now. But if they ever get organized it's going to be rough," says Omega Police Chief Walter Young.

"Are you committed to this?" we asked.

"Yes sir. I'm in a small town. I like to keep a clean community." 

Walter Young is studying up on gang signs and working with nearby officers who are familiar with the growing trends.

"I don't know what the approach is everybody's going to have to get together and get something worked out."

Bennett has some words of advice.

"Go to locking them up. You want to be in a gang, were going to break the gang up. Lock them up. That's all you got to do."

To send the message you aren't welcomed here.

Chief Young says when he catches people putting up graffiti, he makes that person remove it. But he says older gang members are having younger people do their dirty work.

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