Is Atlanta’s Anti-Gang Effort Too Little Too Late?

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Perhaps the authorities of local municipalities need to start listening to gangsta rap music. Rap being the “news” of the streets can often be an indicator of criminal activities in a particular area long before authorities become aware of them.

Some rappers even give specifics, but in this case we’re specifically speaking about the gang problem in the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan area.

As reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta’s top cop Richard Pennington declared a war on gangs last month, but we know all too well how these “wars” usually end up: under-funded and forgotten within the span of a few years.

The new focus on gangs raises questions about just how significant the gang problem is in Atlanta. In the past, authorities downplayed the reach of gangs in the city. More often, they were viewed simply as packs of thugs committing opportunistic crimes, and that’s the very same mistake anti-gang units from Trenton, New Jersey to Portland, Oregon (Oh yes, they bang hard in Trenton and Portland) have made time and time again.

It is unclear just how many gangs or gang members exist in Atlanta. Evidence of increased gang activity seems anecdotal. Specific numbers are as sketchy as the gangs themselves.

Still, authorities say city-based gangs have become more violent, organized and entrenched. Investigations of crimes over the past two years indicate gangs are drawing members not only from poor neighborhoods but also middle-class homes, allegedly even the stepson of a prominent politician and a respected Morehouse College student.

Read the full story here.

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