Gang activities cost Albany tax payers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gang activities cost Albany tax payers

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April 2, 2008

Albany -- A Public Works crew can clean this graffiti with the scrub of a brush, but the stains on the community are harder to remove. 

"Its an economic development downturn. People don't feel safe when they see graffiti," said Executive Director of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, Judy Bowles.

Graffiti not only plays on the community's emotions, but also costs them. "We have a crew here that you and I as taxpayers are paying for, and there suppose to be somewhere else," said Bowles. 

And it wasn't cheap. "We've had to buy special graffiti removal which is very expensive. It's an acid and dangerous to use. So we are using gloves and a mask," said Bowles.

The city spent about $500 on this clean up project. The gangsters who caused this mess probably spent about a dollar on a can of spray paint. "The entire process is expensive and somebody has probably taken less than a minute to put it up there," said Bowles.

There are also nine officers on the Albany Police Department whose sole purpose is to take on gang crime and vandalism. 

"It costs when we have to focus our man power on gang issues when they can be in another area where we are having a lot of burglaries or a lot of copper thefts," said Albany Police Lieutenant James Williams. 

But officers say it will take more than just tax dollars and man power to fight crime. "We have seen a decrease this month then last month. And I contribute that to the citizens getting involved," said Williams.

Citizens whose efforts will drive out crime and keep Albany beautiful and safe.

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