Albany, Georgia finds way to reduce homicides

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Albany, Georgia is where I was born and raised. I’ve lived here pretty much my entire life save for the time I wore a uniform for Uncle Sam’s Yacht Club.

I won’t say that it’s always been great. Once, the city was bustling and growing. Then a major employer left town right about the time crack became a thing and the descent into the toilet began.

Since then, Albany’s been less than spectacular in so many ways. I mean, we were even the murder capital of the United States at one point. Not a fuzzy feeling.

You can imagine things haven’t been great here with violent crime surging all around us. One would expect the homcide rate to be soaring here.

Except, it hasn’t. Two months into 2022 and there have been no homicides.

Why is that? Well, because authorities aren’t playing around with the gangs that cause the trouble.

With requirements of good hygiene and keeping up a good appearance, getting an education and showing respect for parents, part of this group’s rule book could have been borrowed straight from the Boy Scouts.

Other rules prosecutors say the Purps street gang emphasized included the first one — “no gay (expletive)” — having a gun on hand at all times and bringing in some type of income, which for the group meant engaging in illegal activities.

Those activities ranged from the nonviolent, such as entering cars to search for weapons, cash and other valuables, to assault of individuals who didn’t show sufficient respect to the gang, home invasions and murder.

In a December indictment, prosecutors with the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office laid out some 343 racketeering and gang participation acts charging multiple members.

There seems to have been a noticeable decrease in violent crime since a Dougherty County grand jury issued the indictments, the district attorney said, which could be because some of the purveyors of that violence are behind bars and other gangs have been put on notice that they could be next.

“I’m hoping it’s a little bit of both,” Edwards said. “It’s no secret we’re going to be taking steps against gangs and we’ll get to them in due course.”

Some of the other gangs mentioned in the indictment are the Rattlers, J-Block or “the Blockos,” Valley Boys Gang, Young Jack Boys, Brim Blood Set Gang, Rolling 60 Crips and Denver Lane Bloods.

In other words, the DA’s office put the gangs on notice that their crap won’t be tolerated. As a result, everyone is trying to keep their heads down.

Of course, it’s also just two months into the year. It’s a little premature to say definitively if this is a long-term solution that other communities can or should follow, but Edwards’ comments make a great deal of sense.

After all, people who are locked up aren’t on the streets breaking laws. Further, their buddies are trying to keep from being locked up as well.

Sounds like something New York City should consider, now that I think about it.

Somehow, I doubt their DA will follow Edwards’ lead, which is kind of a shame.