ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Police hope to take a different approach in the new year tackling gang violence in Albany.
Albany's police chief told city leaders Tuesday that more "human intelligence" is needed in order to make a real dent in the number of gangs-related crimes.
Already, Chief Michael Persley is putting more experienced investigators on the gang task force, and wants to do a better job partnering with community stakeholders, "Let's try to find additional resources for people. And, when we have identified people involved in gangs, let's get them to those resources and get them out of that lifestyle and on track for more productive lives as citizens."
Persley says there are five major gangs in Albany, the oldest being the CME Rattlers.
Persley says the gang task force has identified an additional nine gangs that will pop up under various names, which are typically contained to a particular street block and have between three to twelve members.
He says people join gangs for many reasons that are not unlike reasons people choose a civic organization or even a church. These people are looking for a place they belong, and are often "sitting on the fence".
Persley thinks more collaboration with community stakeholders can help guide these types of gang members to something more productive.
Persley says the police department has had 352 gang-related incident reports, 81 arrests, and 63 gang task force operations so far in 2016.