Gunfire comes as APD promises tough action on gangs - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Gunfire comes as APD promises tough action on gangs

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Three suspected gang shootings happened Monday afternoon just two hours after the city and county vowed to stand up to gangs.

Albany Police told commissioners Monday morning they will have zero tolerance for gang violence.

And city commissioners are backing them up with a one million dollar investment in a new gang task force.

The signs are everywhere. Graffiti, shootings, even murders. Signs of gang activity. Albany Police say they've positively identified at least 14 gangs within the city.

"We have to dismantle them," said Capt. Mack Green of the Albany Police Department. 

That's what the new Gang Force, put in place by the city of Albany, is designed to do.

"If you are a member of a gang, it's our mission to put you out of business. You need to take your gang activity someplace else other than the city of Albany or Dougherty County," said Deputy. Chief Nathaniel Clark.

The task force won't answer to the Dougherty County commission, but leaders gave an update on how the unit is progressing for their information. It's been forming for the past three months.

City Manager Al Lott says the eradication of gangs is top on his list. "It is the number one priority for the city Manager and the Chief of police."

Commission Muarlene Edwards says it's important police focus on laws already in place to fight gangs, especially school attendance. "I feel that it needs to start with the school system with attendance. Truancy is the kindergarten of crime."

She says when kids skip school, they're looking for trouble and many end up in gangs. "When they're not in school, they're learning, but not the kinds of things they need to learn."

And forcing the innocent to live in fear. "No law abiding citizens should have to be fearful of walking to the grocery store or taking their loved one to the park or confining themselves to their own home, that should not be and it's not going to be."

Police say fighting gangs is a community effort that requires parents, school officials and regular citizens to get involved and take back their neighborhoods.

Here are a couple of things parents should be on the lookout for:

  • sketches and drawings, some that may resemble graffiti
  • if your child wears the same color all of the time
  • if your child's friends wear the same colors all the time

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