ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -Five shootings in the last three weeks has many in Albany furious.
The recent increase in crime brought a huge crowd at Thursday’s Gang Task Force Meeting.
It was so packed, that the meeting had to move to a bigger room.
This was the first meeting since three people lost their lives to gun violence.
The group is now called the "Criminal Gang Network of Action Task Force", also known as C-GNAT.
Dozens of people demanded change from city leaders.
They said this is an urgent matter and solutions are needed now.
Some even saying it’s time to invest in children, instead of spending funds on things not beneficial to crime prevention.
“The point I’m making is, it’s going to take us being more focused on our youth programs than anything else because nothing is going to change until we put something together for the youth. He shouldn’t have to beg for money,” said Lawrence Knighton, a concerned resident.
Now all law enforcement agencies and many school and city leaders were all present.
Community leaders said they’ve reorganized the group, to bring more players to the table to fight crime collectively.
Resources needed to fight crime
Albany's top cop has called the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to help fight the recent crime.
Chief Michael Persley said they need the community’s help in fighting active gangs.
Prosecutors said they’ve taken numerous arrest warrants out for gang members who’ve been involved in shootings.
Adding that attorneys and the Albany Police Gang Unit are working overtime to arrest violent members.
Now, they’re asking people to be watchmen over the community, by speaking up on recent crimes.
“We can not prove a case without witnesses. We can not come into a courtroom in front of a jury, to prove a case without witnesses. We need witnesses to be brave enough, and love their city enough to step forward,” said Mike Taborok, Senior Assistant District Attorney at the Dougherty Judicial Circuit.
Prosecutors said as people come forward, they will do everything they can to protect all witnesses.
GBI crime for reporting crime
Special agents with the GBI said they’re pushing an app called, “See Send App.”
It’s a free app for the community to report criminal activity anonymously to the GBI’s intelligence units.
They will then forward that to law enforcement in the area.
A former gang member said more needs to be done to protect those witnesses.
He said they used to go after those who spoke out.
“Y’all talk about the witnesses. We all got witnesses that’s testifying and we know they testifying, we would show up in masses. We would lean on their cars. There’s no police presence,” said Colby Carroll, a former gang member.
Now GBI investigators said they’re currently working several cases with the gang unit by gathering intelligence.
Agents said out of 40 counties in this region, they’re collaborating with Albany’s Gang Unit more closely.