Gang Task Force says gang activity increasing in Augusta

AUGUSTA (WJBF) — The Richmond County Gang Task Force says gang activity seems to be increasing in the area.

Right now, the agency is tracking more than 100 active gangs, most of them are small though.

Investigators believe Tuesday’s deadly shooting at Fox Den Apartments was gang related.

It’s just one of several recent crimes connected to gang activity.

“These kids are getting on the internet and on Facebook and they’re seeing these different things gangs are involved in and they want to be a part of it,” the investigator said.

He says the gang element in Augusta has increased and changed a lot since he started working for the sheriff’s office.

“You could almost pinpoint a certain area. If you named a certain area of town, you could say this belongs to that gang, but it has evolved since I’ve been on the unit in my three years. They are pretty much spread out throughout Augusta, Richmond County,” the investigator said.

This week, there was a gang related shooting off Wrightsboro Road.

Two months ago, 17 people were indicted on charges of being members of the LOE Gang.

Now, gang graffiti being sprayed around Augusta. Investigators say it’s a sign that gang culture seems to be cool again.

“Normally when you talk gangs, people think Gangster Disciples and Bloods, the nationally-known gangs, but here in Augusta we have a lot of hybrid gangs or neighborhood gangs,” the investigator said.

Whether it’s selling drugs, committing fraud or stealing, investigators say the criminal activity usually escalates to violence.

“Somebody owes somebody money, somebody’s told to commit a crime to be initiated into the gang. When you’re dealing with the gang element, it could be anything,” the investigator said.

As gang activity seems to be growing, investigators say it can still be a challenge to connect crimes to gangs because citizens are afraid to speak up.

However, the Gang Task Force says the best way to stop gang activity is to just prevent them from forming.

“Kids join gangs because they want attention and they’re not getting it at home. I encourage parents to keep close relationships with their kids. Talk to them, if they have problems and things like that,” the investigator said.I

f you have information about a crime or a gang, you can send the sheriff’s office confidential tips.

You don’t have to provide your name or any personal information.

Report crimes here.

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