The Fulton County DA’s Office held a lunch and learn panel discussion on gangs in metro Atlanta. We learned the following information:
* 135 gangs are active in Atlanta right now.
* 2,236 individuals (that we know of) are members of these gangs.
* There are an additional 122 “subsets” of these gangs. Subsets are new gangs or new branches of existing gangs.
* There are 577 known associates of gang members. An associate is a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, parent or grandparent who knows of a gang member and allows criminal activity to continue.
* Somewhere between 10-30% of gang members are female.
* Approximately 70-80% of gang members in Atlanta are Bloods.
* Approximately 3% of gang members are Crips.
* The remainder are members of subset gangs.
* There is no such thing as “gang initiation season.” Gang initiations are happening constantly.
* In Zone 5 we have known gang members in Beats 509, 503, 511.
* Juvenile gang members are driving today’s crimes. Many are breaking into cars specifically to look for guns. “If they break into 100 cars and only get two guns, it’s considered a successful outing.”
* “We are in a crisis mode when it comes to gangs.”
* “Recruiting new gang members starts early, in elementary school. We’ve seen members as young as 8 years old … Youth are leading the way.”
* Depending on which county you live in, 50-90% of current criminal activity is linked to gangs. If you’re in Metro Atlanta, it’s closer to 90%. Gang members are known to be responsible for many of the gas stations crimes we’ve recently had.
* Metro Atlanta is currently the #1 recruiting city for new gang members.
* Law enforcement officers told the group that gang members have NO FEAR.
* They may be in school Monday-Friday and in church on Sunday, but they are still gang members.
* One gang member told a law enforcement officer, “My dad’s in prison and I’m going to join him.”
Advice for your safety:
* Be present! No heads down while walking, no texting while walking, no cellphone usage while walking to and from locations.
* You make yourself a target when you are not “present.”
* People who are obviously intoxicated and not in control are targets.
* If approached, give them your property. A cell phone is replaceable, your life is not.
* If you walk outside and something doesn’t look or feel right, go back inside.
* If you see “tagging” in your neighborhood, take a photo and contact APD and document the date and time of the photo. Do not paint over the graffiti. Atlanta Public Works will re-paint once the tags have been properly investigated.
We are working with the DA’s Office to have a representative at the next MPSA member meeting on Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Mary Mac’s Tea Room to lead a discussion and answer your questions about gang activity in our area. Will confirm as soon as possible.