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Gang recruitment increases

Albany Police Gang Unit Corporal Warren Ewings Albany Police Gang Unit Corporal Warren Ewings
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Gang Unit officers say the first week of school is one of the busiest times for gang recruitment.

The Albany Police gang unit has been watching closely around the Dougherty County schools this week for gang activity close to the campuses.

Officers say parents need to know that gangs are active in the first weeks inside and around schools and recommend parents keep watch on their students to protect them.

Albany Police Gang Unit marked cars have been very visible, patrolling around Dougherty County schools this first week of classes. Officers say just outside the school zones is where gangs get active.

"A lot of fights in the neighborhoods,” said Albany Police Gang Unit Corporal Warren Ewings. “For initiation or just for recreation. We're seeing them do a lot of that. So as they get older their crimes may start to increase or become more violent."

During these first days, officers say Gangs will prey on students moving up in grade use bullying as a recruiting tool.

"To make sure that these younger kids as they are moving up aren't becoming targets. Because that's where a lot of our gang activity really starts. Picking on someone. They need some kind of way to defend themselves. And then they turn to gangs," Ewings said.

Gang Unit officers say they are not just patrolling near the high schools. They say they are seeing gang recruitment in and around elementary schools as well, and they are fighting it.

"We're making contact with those kids. School police. Educating parents. Whatever we need to do to educate them and try to cut this off before it starts."

Watching in and around the Albany schools, to keep gang activity out of the near by streets and neighborhoods.

Gang unit officers suggest parents keep a close watch on their students for the first weeks of school, noticing any changes in attitudes or grades or start hanging out with negative crowds or friends.

They offer their help if you have concerns. Call them at 431-2100.

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