Tifton has its gang problems, like any city - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tifton has its gang problems, like any city

September 17, 2007

Tifton ---  When you think of gangs, we usually tend to associate them with much larger cities like L.A. or Atlanta. However, they're alive and well even in the smallest of cities like Tifton.

Over the years, police there have seen a dramatic increase in gang presence identifying more than a dozen gangs in the area.   And it's certainly not hard to find-- it's even at the Heritage Plaza, were you can see where gang members recently painted the entire back wall of the Heritage Plaza.

And it's not just all pictures, some have left messages. You can see where gang graffiti reads "XXXX".

Tifton police sayThey're doing all they can to rid the city of the illegal artwork.  Officers are working with Keep Tift Beautiful and the Tift County Commission on Children and Youth to remove the graffiti found all throughout the city.

Police have noticed new graffiti in recent weeks along Goff Street, North Tift Avenue, and Armour Road. You can find the illegal artwork primarily on street signs and many businesses.

"The graffiti is used to mark their territory and send messages to the rival gangs," said Detective Raleigh Coarsey  of the Tifton Police Dept. 

"If we paint this, it'll just be a matter of days before they come back and do it again," said Business Owner Bill Belcher. 

Tifton police have identified at least 15 gangs in the area. Along with cleaning up the graffiti in Tifton, police are also working with the Federal Gang Task Force out of Valdosta to reduce the presence of gang activity in the area.

If you believe you are the victim of a gang-related crime or notice gang related activity in your neighborhood at 382-3132.