Columbus church holds event to help residents combat gang violence in community

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 11:19 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With more than 2,100 gang members in Muscogee County, a church in Columbus is opening its doors for citizens to come and learn about local gangs and ways to recognize if your child is a part of one.

The information that was talked about is hard to come by. Lots of inside information on gangs, how to recognize them and info on how to get out of a gang.

The Pastor says the organizers of this recent are part of a youth ministry at the church. They opened up the doors to the community to be able to hear about gangs and what is being done about them.

Gun violence and gangs are something the youth ministry of Fourth Street Baptist Church feels needs to be addressed. Pastor Johnny Flakes, III says he feels inspired knowing that the youth is engaged in the community.

“Any they are aware of what is going on within the city but also want to make a difference. Wating to give messages, wanting to gain awareness and also be a change agent.”

Residents attending the event heard how to identify gang signs, tattoos, codes and languages. Flake, III says the event is not only informative, but he hopes it will bring change.

During the event, they talked about what Columbus is doing to address gangs in the Valley. Sheriff Greg Countryman says they have a Drug, Gang, and Fugitive Taskforce Unit that includes about 40 multi-skilled investigators.

“We have a gang task unit that solely goes after gangs because if we look at our population we have a roughly population according to the about 207,000 1% of that population is committing 80% 90% of the crime and so this lets you know that 1% of our population guess what we’re battle that 1% is responsible for the majority of the homicides,” said the sheriff.