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Police chief on gang members: 'Yes, we're watching them'

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Updated: 7/02/2013 6:58 pm
BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- When Action News asked if gangs were a problem in Brunswick, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering gave us a straight and simple answer.

"Yes, has been for a long time," he said.

He says a newly formed task force has been able to identify 20 different gangs in the county, and each of their 121 members.

"We know who most of them are," said the Chief.  "And yes, we are watching them."

He says the gangs aren't very organized, but that doesn't mean they're not dangerous.  We witnessed that back in March when, according to police, suspected gang member DeMarquise Elkins shot and killed a 13-month-old baby in an armed robbery attempt.

[Special coverage: Brunswick Baby Murder]

Brunswick Pastor Ken Adkins says he's doing his part to curtail the problem, by teaching local kids as young as 8 how to keep away from gang activity.

"Gang recruitment starts early," he said.  "But so does the gang that I represent.  We start early, too."

Doering and the district attorney are doing their parts, too, by reviewing previous charges for known gang members to see if their crimes violate Georgia's anti-gang laws.  And if they do, they'll be indicted on an additional charge, which Doering said could translate into more jail time.

Under Georgia law, it's not a crime to be a gang member.  But it's against anti-gang laws to commit a crime as a gang member, a fine line that Doering said has already resulted in new indictments.  He promises more will come.

Adkins runs his anti-gang initiative out of his church, Greater Dimensions Christian Fellowship.  

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