AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - A recent e-mail from the Augusta Crimestoppers reported the infamous Blood gang is headed to Augusta. According to Major Scott Peebles at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, thankfully there isn't a serious threat to the public when it comes to gang violence.
But Peebles also said gangs are out looking for new members, and they have some advice on what to look for, and how the Sheriff's Office is keeping kids out of the violent crime lifestyle.
"We have a problem with gangs, and mostly it's youth with gangs and sometimes ex-convicts with gangs," Peebles said.
Since the Gang Task Force was formed two years ago in Richmond County, officials say they've seen the gang activity drop significantly, but that hasn't stopped members from recruiting kids into their violent lifestyle.
"Kids in the preteens are recruited for gang membership, but typically your target age is going to be in the 12-15 year old range," said Peebles.
The Sheriff's Office says this is because kids are more vulnerable at a younger age.
"A lot of times they don't have the home life that some teens would have, and so there's a need for being plugged in by the gang," Peebles said.
He said the Sheriff's Office is in schools, and using real world examples to help kids realize this is not a road they want to go down.
"We have community partnerships that come out with us so it's not just a police officer, but it's actually people who have lived that life too and can tell you the downsides." he said.
Peebles also said there is one major thing parents can do to help prevent gangs from growing.
"Just get involved and know what's going on in your kids' lives and verify what they're telling you. If they say they're going to be somewhere with someone, verify that. Follow up, let them know that you're checking up on them," he said.
If you suspect any gang activity going on in your neighborhood or near your child's school, you can send a tip to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office here or by calling dispatch at 706-821-1080. You can also report suspected gang activity at the Sheriff's Office, located at 400 Walton Way.
If you would like someone from the Sheriff's Office to come talk to your neighborhood or organization about gang activity prevention, you can call 706-821-1000 and ask for the Community Services Bureau.