Albany leaders fight gang graffiti - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany leaders fight gang graffiti

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May 26, 2007

Albany--Albany city leaders are working extra hard to rid the city of area gangs. Not only do these gangs breed crime, but they also deface the community with their graffiti.

News 10 didn't have to travel very far today to find gang graffiti symbols spray painted throughout various sections of Albany. Odds are you have seen the works of vandalism on your way to work, outside of public places, or even in your own neighborhood. But while the issue may just be a visual nuisance to some, the crime that is often associated with gang activity can place a serious hurt on communities.

Gang graffiti: it has been a problem in Albany for sometime. But with recent gang related crime making headlines and terrorizing local neighborhoods it is seen as much more than just spray painted vandalism.

"One of the reasons why we are concerned about it is because it has affected neighborhoods. For example, if you are trying to increase economic development, if you are certainly going to get a business to come to a city where you see a lot of graffiti and gang activity that would be in any community," says Albany city commissioner, John Howard.

Economics and business aside, gang activity takes a toll on local neighborhoods by increasing crime and violence. But according to the police, community involvement, such as town hall meetings have proved successful in reducing gang activity in the past.

Now whether it's on abandoned buildings or public places like this, graffiti is showing up all throughout Albany and today city officials along with the police were taking appropriate measures to see that it stops.

"The way reduced gangs in Dougherty County was by community involvement. It wasn't about the police, it wasn't about what we were doing out there, it was about the community getting involved and they notifying us. They held us accountable for what we said we were going to do, and we did that. And we were able to reduce gang activities and criminal activities," says Lt. James Williams, with APD.

But many Albany residents like Terrence Jordan and his wife, just want the peace of mind their community and their children are safe.

"I just want to be normal and live a normal life. We do not need gangs, we have family," says resident, Terrence Jordan.

Now the police stress that it will take a proactive approach from the community to prevent gang violence and vandalism such as graffiti.

And if you have any information on gang activity such as graffiti, or you notice shoes hanging on power lines, you're asked to call Albany Police at 431-2132.

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