0

Community key to controlling gang activity, APD officer states

Lt. Michael Persley, a member of the Albany Police Department’s Gang Task Force, spoke Thursday at this month’s public meeting at the Government Building. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the city’s widespread illegal gang activity and to discuss ways the community could help control the problems.

Lt. Michael Persley, a member of the Albany Police Department’s Gang Task Force, spoke Thursday at this month’s public meeting at the Government Building. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the city’s widespread illegal gang activity and to discuss ways the community could help control the problems.

ALBANY, Ga. — Gang memberships often increase not because of a desire to enter a gang, but because resistance is beaten down, authorities say.

“Here in Albany you can join a gang as early as 8 or 9 years old,” Lt. Michael Persley, assistant supervisor of the Albany Police Department’s Gang Task Force, said Thursday, “but the full indoctrination usually comes around 13 or 15 (years).”

Persley said the reasons for joining a gang vary according to each individual. For some it could be a “macho” decision, but in many cases young people have little choice but to join.

“They just get tired of having to fight someone every day,” Persely said. “After a while they give up and join.”

He was spaking at the Task Force’s first public meeting of the year, which was held at the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave. The purpose of the meetings, according to Persley, is to raise public awareness of illegal gang activity, and to generate possible solutions toward controlling the problems.

The meeting was attended by several Task Force officers; city officials, including Ward 1 Commission Jon Howard and Mayor Dorothy Hubbard; concerned residents, and educators.

Persley said four major gangs have been identified in Albany: The Bloods, Crips, Black Gangster Disciples and the CME Rattlers. In addition, each gang may consist of any number of “sets,” or offshoots of the main body.

Contrary to what some believe, poverty has little to do with the existence of organized gangs or the decision to join one, he said. In fact, Persley sees poverty as something of an excuse.

“Money is a factor, but not a major one,” Persley said. “We have gang members who come from well-to-do neighborhoods, where their parents have good jobs. Some even have college degrees. It’s something they’ve always been involved in. They’re true to the gang.”

To help counter widespread gang activity, the Task Force believes in partnering with the community for “prevention and intervention” before enforcement becomes necessary, Persley said. One promising technique involves speaking to area youth in churches, schools, social, community and civic organizations. According to Persley, that’s where the younger kids might be reached before they decide to join a gang. For older individuals, Persley said finding something else for them to do could be the better answer.

“Police officers have been known to help find jobs for (the gang members),” Persley said. “When they do, that’s a success. But it doesn’t have to be a job. It could be involvement in a civic organization. Albany State has fraternal groups that do community outreach. Maybe you can get them involved. That helps keep them from being candidates for illegal activities.”

Persley said he’d like to see the Task Force meeting room “so packed we have to move to a larger place.”

“I can’t over-stress that the community is the key to positive impact on the gang problems,” Persley said. “The police do everything they can to enforce the laws and keep public order, but the community can form watch groups and report more information so (the task force) can deal with the source problems.”

For a schedule of future Gang Task Force meetings, call the Albany Police Department at (229) 431-2100.

Comments

VSU 1 year, 1 month ago

Joining a gang pretty much indicates the individual has tapped out on life already.

0

RedEric 1 year, 1 month ago

There are always exceptions, but generally children join gangs because it represents a family situation, discipline etc.. This is a result of welfares destruction of family life. Children represent an increase in welfare and not much more.

0

waltspecht 1 year, 1 month ago

If communities won't tollerate them, gangs wouldn't exist. It is when a community accomodates them that they grow and prosper. If more people would use confidential tip lines, there would be far less Gang activity. I am not saying expose yourself to possible retaliation, just tell the Police where they are and what they are doing and allow the Police to do their jobs. That way we will all know if there are informents working within the department, much like the 911 operators.

0

WTFwtf 1 year, 1 month ago

Perhaps a shift away from incriminating non violent drug offenders wouldhelp free up resources to control gang crime. Decriminalizing drugs would lower their price and their allure to gangs and cut robbery and violent crimes. alcohol prohibition gave rise to organized crime in the usa the failed war on drugshas given rise to gangs from coast to coast including albany. Iknow its hard for small town albany folk to wrap their minds around this bc they cant find this in their bibles but what else is new. U just cant legislate morality. U have yourselves to blame.

1

Somebody 1 year, 1 month ago

If you did that you would have an open market of drug activity in every neighborhood with no fear of being caught or arrested. They pretty much do that now anyway but it would only get worse. They would still join gangs because they have no one else to turn to because most don't know who their daddy is and their mother doesn't give a sh*t about them. She only had him to draw welfare in the first place. Drugs or no drugs, as long as you have welfare and poverty there will be gangs.

0

Gollygee 1 year, 1 month ago

"He was spaking at the Task Force’s first public meeting of the year..."

Spaking? Who proofreads these articles?

0

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 1 month ago

Read the Albany Herald "BIRTHS" section each week. Then you'll know all you need to know about why kids join gangs.

It's too bad that WTFwtf's mommie didn't abort, right?

0

Jacob 1 year, 1 month ago

"It's too bad that WTFwtf's mommie didn't abort, right?"

Pathetic.

0

Sign in to comment