South Augusta neighbors see signs of gang activity

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News 12 First at Five, October 1, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Sara Aleem has lived in the Apple Valley neighborhood for 33 years. She has put bars on her windows and doors for protection.

"We don't feel safe because we know when we go home we have to lock up our homes and we have burglar bars. We have to lock it all up and have the neighbor across the street watching out because if we don't the kids will try to break-in," says Aleem.

People who live in Apple Valley say a local gang keeps them from enjoying their neighborhood. Residents say the gang is known as, AVP. It stands for Apple Valley Posse.

Some residents have posted 'no trespassing' and 'beware of dog' signs, even pad-locking their fences to protect themselves from crime. Sergeant Richard Roundtree confirms that there is a gang in the neighborhood.

"We do know that a gang does operate in that particular area which we have identified and are tracking and monitoring," said Roundtree.

Ronald Johnson is the president of Apple Valley's community watch program. He says people in the area should feel safe.

"People shouldn't be afraid to come out at night. They can't be afraid to come out because people are out at night," said Johnson.

But that's exactly why Sara Aleem doesn't feel safe. She says too many people are out at night looking for trouble.

"[The gang] has taken over the neighborhood," says Aleem. "They've gotten worse and worse and worse. The kids don't go to school. The kids ride up and down the road all day long and go around and steal and break-in to people's homes."

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