Thomasville, GA -- July 25, 2011
"I've been there. I was a little older when I got into trouble," says Thomasville resident Richard Carter.
Carter says he's making sure his two grandkids don't follow the same path he did. He took off from work on Monday to spend time with his grandsons who will eventually grow into men, but he says he wants to make sure they get the love they need so they don't have to turn to gangs.
"Some of them aren't scared of dying. They'll tell you they would die for the gang," says Carter.
I took part in a ride-along with Thomasville police. We ended up at an abandoned home tucked in weeds and trees, but inside, the walls told its story. Task Force Officer Dominic Ford explains what the different gang signs mean.
"Throwing up their gang symbols in order to disrespect the gang and let them know this is our area," says Ford.
Ford says there are hundreds of gang members in Thomas County and thousands nationwide. Stats he says he got from the National Gang Intelligence Center.
"How can we grab our kids out of gang environment? You don't want them to be in gangs," says Thomas County resident Renee Williams.
"So what can you do?"
"We have third graders talking about being a part of the gang," says Ford.
Ford says gang-related crimes are minor in Thomasville and that his agency continues to work around the clock to keep it that way.