Gang intelligence used to prevent Holiday crime - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gang intelligence used to prevent Holiday crime

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December 14, 2007

Albany -- Police worry that gang violence will increase during the Christmas Holidays. So the Gang Task Force is trying to get ahead of the problem and using inside information to stop gangsters in their tracks.

This gang graffiti gives investigators a clue about gang activity. Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards said "there are messages in graffiti that we try to interpret, and use that information."

Albany's combined law enforcement's Gang Task Force says they have had success in the last six months gathering information on gangs. Investigators obtained this Lords of Darkness Book of Knowledge from an Albany gang member when he was arrested.

And from that book, the gang's secret language, and operating style. The secret alphabet they use for codes. The book even tells gang members how to stand, and has a dress code. Police know those rules they can more easily spot them. Edwards said "When we have those Books of Knowledge we have great insight into how the individual gangs are operating and who is in those gangs."

The Crime Unit says there are close to 600 active gang members in Albany, and Investigators say they know who a lot of them are from information they have seized. Edwards said "we sure do, because in fact they have their rosters so to speak, of persons involved."

Law Enforcement has learned Albany Gangs are organized, even on the Internet.  Edwards said "your average Gang Member is not necessarily an illiterate thug, there with no common sense."

Of course law enforcement will not say what they plan for the holidays to battle the gang problem, but the Organized Crime Unit says they have more information about Albany's gangs, and will use it to prevent violence.

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