Are there gangs in Columbus? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Are there gangs in Columbus?

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  It's too graphic to show in our broadcasts- graffiti containing the drawing of a penis and a racial slur on the sidewalk leading up to the front doors of Northside High School in Columbus Wednesday. Click here to read the story.

"The graffiti that was in the courtyard consisted of some obscenities. These obscenities have now been cleaned up, the graffiti has now been removed by plant services, and custodians who work for the Muscogee County School District," said spokeswoman Valerie Fuller.

The phrase "But CRIPS All The Way" was also included in the lewd drawing.

At this point, Columbus Police don't think it's gang related. They say it appears to be an act of vandalism.

In recent weeks, police say businesses and homes surrounding Saint Francis Hospital have also been sprayed with gang style graffiti- the phrase "SUR 13" popping up time and time again.

"It's a national gang that started in California and grew to the national level. Most major cities have it," explained Sergeant Rick McMahan who heads up the Columbus Police Department's Gang Task Force.

"They tagged it with the 'SUR 13 gang' symbols and a couple of names in big blue letters. We all work hard to have nice things and to have people come and mess it up- it's disturbing," said Skip Farrow the owner of Williams Salon in the Cross Country Plaza whose business has been targeted twice by vandals.

But in Columbus, police say they deal with neighborhood groups made up of middle school kids and young teens, in essence, "wanna be gangsters."

"We do have trouble with a lot of kids that get together in the neighborhood as a group. But as far as gangs and what you would think of a typical street gang with national affiliations, I don't see that here in Columbus," Sergeant McMahan said.

Anyone with information on these graffiti type vandals is asked to call the Columbus Police Department's Investigative Services at 706-653-3400 or Crime Stoppers at 706-653-3188.

Crime Stoppers does offer a $1000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment and you can stay anonymous.

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