September 30, 2006
A DVD circulating Augusta's streets was intended to promote area rap groups...but now it's getting a bad rap.
Police say it features gang members and promotes violence.
"There is a reason for them acting out this kind of behavior," Commissioner Calvin Holland told News 12.
That reason, police fear, could be gang-related.
Investigators have already identified six Augusta gangs, from Cherry Tree Crossing to Barton Village's O-Dubs.
We found few people who would talk on camera, but one man says he's seen gangs for 20 years.
"We've got innocent citizens out there that are victims of armed robberies or burglaries," said Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength.
Even scarier is gang recruiting...most members start in middle school.
Before long, they graduate to carrying high-caliber weapons.
"The AK-47's, the high-powered rifles, you know, the semi-automatic handguns," Sheriff Strength says.
So the sheriff's pulling a trigger of his own--creating a new task force that will pump federal funding into the county purse.
The pay off, he hopes, will be safer streets.
Richmond County's new task force will require the approval of the Department of Justice. That could take up to 90 days.
Once approved, the money will be spent on vehicles, equipment, and overtime for officers.