Sheriff's Office tries to work against gangs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff's Office tries to work against gangs

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Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul
Da'Vion Watson Da'Vion Watson
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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A major search continues for the suspected gunman in the second of Monday's two gang shootings in Albany.

All Dougherty County law enforcement agencies are looking for 20-year-old Da'Vion Watson, known as 'Buddy.'

He is wanted for gunning down two men on South McKinley Street minutes after another shooting nearby. The Dougherty County Sheriff says gang violence will increase, if the community does not get involved in stopping gangs.  

Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul fears that Monday's two shootings are part of increasing violence from gangs.

"Overall It's probably getting worse. With economic times the way they are, we anticipate it to get worse than now," Sproul said

Sproul says law enforcement has identified 14 active gangs in Dougherty County, and more than 1,300  members. They say a lack of family structure has more kids falling for the gang's glamour seen on TV and music videos.

"There may not be a parent at home, so they go out into the streets and they look at the guys on the corner. They see all the jewelry, the flashy cars and different things that they have, and they want that." said Dougherty County Sheriff's Lt. Pamela Thomas.

"It's attractive to kids that don't have that strong support, strong background. That parental support. That community support. The gang is visible," said Dougherty County Sheriff's Sgt. Terron Hayes.

The Sheriff's Office has lots of books and knowledge about gangs, but they say Albany needs more community involvement to show kids there is something better than gang banging.

 "We have to grab these kids and let them know that we care," said Dougherty County Sheriff's Lt. Anita Allen. "And that we love them. We need to spend time with them."

The Sheriff's Office sponsors GREAT and CHAMPS programs in schools, and summer programs for gang prevention. But they need more volunteers and more money to teach Albany's kids the truth about gangs.

 "It's a dead end road," Sproul said "You join a gang you are going to die, or you are going to jail or prison."

The Sheriff's Office says there will be more violence in the streets of Albany unless people and businesses start showing kids they care more about them than the gangs do.

Sproul says there are two things you can do to help fight gangs-

  • Report information about gangs, drugs, or crime in your neighborhood
  • Contribute your time or money to gang prevention programs in the community

You can call the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office at 229-431-2166, and they will tell you how you can help.

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