News 12 at 11, December 11, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- People living in neighborhoods rocked by gang violence say they believe they're getting their streets back after a series of gang related arrests.
Richmond County investigators say a gang called the Meadowbrook Clique was shut down this week. It's a gang that is known to operate in the Meadowbrook Drive area.
Neighbors have had to live with this growing crime for a long time, now they say they are hopeful but cautious.
"You're always looking over your shoulder. We have to always be on alert. And there is no need to live that way." But life hasn't always been that way for 64 year old Albert Poole and his family. For them, Meadowbrook Drive is just home. "Seventeen years been on this corner."
Nearly two decades of memories for this Great-Grandfather. He's raised seven children in the Barton Village area, then helped raise 16 grandchildren and six great grandchildren now near Meadowbrook; all successful, or well on their way.
Poole, "Whole lot of pride. Glad to be on this side of town."
A side of town that's seen it's share of gang problems; Richmond County investigators blame the Meadowbrook Clique.
"You have kids walking street late at night. You have to be cautious of that because you don't know what's what or who is who." explains Poole. But, Albert says in the last few weeks, .the streets have noticeably cleared. "Everybody is feeling better after Operation Ink."
He's talking about the 74 suspected gang members arrested in November and the arrests keep coming. Investigators say seven more members of Meadowbrook Clique arrested this week in connection to seven robberies that left two people shot.
Poole, "I don't want to see the gang members take over. I don't."
And neither do the Moore's who live just down the street.
Eula Moore, "They shouldn't be hurting nobody, shouldn't be shooting nobody."
Her husband Elton Moore adds those arrested now, "Have an opportunity to come back out and be a benefit to the neighborhoods instead of rejoicing they did this and they did that and end up in the electric chair."
Now these neighbors say it's starting to feel safe again and for Albert, it's starting to feel a lot like Christmas. He's one of a few neighbors to put decorations out this year.
"Very important. To me it's showing your love. For your family, for your neighborhood. Let's try to make Augusta and the whole community a better place for everybody. I think everybody has a Christmas wish and that would be mine."