Neighbors fighting gang activity themselves

Johnson Road neighbors say two trailer park neighborhoods house a lot of gang activity / Sarah Bleau

Marilyn Hall has lived in the 600 block of Johnson Road for 17 years. She says crime and gang activity there escalated over the last eight years.

"Over in the trailer park it's been kind of bad. The police is always there and breaking in the store down the street. It's just been rough," she says. "The kids always cursing and they out there they be in one big group, six or seven kids, and they cursing and running when they see the police. They running in and out. You can basically tell what's going on,"

Hall adds that at one time there were gang members living near her; she says the landlord kicked them out. She says she even added bars on her home windows to protect it from break-ins.

Another neighbor called FOX 31 wanting to go on camera about her daughter being beat up by the gang members, but later refused an interview. According to a police report, four people â" including two juveniles â" were arrested in connection with this fight.

This neighbor did tell FOX 31 that some adults and parents there are coming together to tell the gang members to stop the crime, violence and to stop jumping kids at night. Police say this is not the route to take.

"We encourage people to come together in a constructive way, and by that I mean by forming a neighborhood watch group so they can continue to be the eyes and ears of their neighborhood," says Phyllis Banks, Albany Police Department Media Manager. "The only way we're going to be able to get in and sort of get a handle on things they see going on in their neighborhood is if it's reported. That's the first step that needs to be made."

She says those neighbors worried about being compromised if they report gang activity to police do not need to worry. Banks says people can report tips anonymously to the Gang Unit at (229) 430-2911 or (229) 430-2912. She says people may also anonymously report gang activity through Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS.

Neighbors say they want resolution to come soon so they can have peace of mind.

"They (gang members) don't pretty much bother me but it's the idea of it's just right across the street," says Hall.

Albany police say after our inquiries into the 600 block of Johnson and gang activity there, they have turned the information over to the Gang Unit and say there will be extra patrols and investigation there.

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