Gang Activity in Valdosta?

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Jimmy Strickland, Jr. and his wife Martha have lived here for 21 years, and they say its been a relatively calm and safe neighborhood.

At least, until a couple of years ago.

"Its not the same type of neighborhood that it was 20 years ago," Strickland says. "I'm a little uneasy at times, especially after, say after 7 'o clock."

Just yards behind the Strickland's' home, graffiti was spray-painted across the rear wall of the Harvey's supermarket on Bemiss Road.

Similar graffiti was found blocks away at Powerhouse Outdoor Equipment and across the street at Cutting Edge Salon. Some of the vandalism has since been painted over.

Valdosta police are investigating whether this is all gang-related.

Captain Bernard Robinson with the Valdosta Police Department says, "Until those persons are identified, as in doing it, we can't say specifically who did it."

The Gang Task Force at the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office worked with the Police Department on these cases, and say gang activity has been on the rise for the past few years.

Captain J.D. Yeager with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office says, "We do have active gangs in Lowndes County, we're trying to stay ahead of the curve and on top of them and put pressure on them."

Strickland believes this is gang activity and hopes the problem doesn't get worse.

Authorities say they are stepping up patrols and will prosecute anyone who is responsible for graffiti on personal property.