ATLANTA - The Atlanta Police Department has files on 145 gangs operating in the city. The activity is concerning to the chief who said there are two types gangs in operations currently. There are juvenile gangs with members as young as 12-years-old and there are also adult gangs whose core members are between the ages of 22 and 26.
And there is a hierarchy, according to Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. She named the group Down For Whatever (DFW) as the most potent gang citywide. They operate out of a home base located on Joseph E. Boone Blvd, formerly known as Simpson Street.
As police track DFW, the pattern is for their members to head to Buckhead, break into high-end vehicles and return back downtown with their loot such as guns, electronics, and even cash.
"It is fair to say that a number of the armed robberies we are seeing are the result of guns that have been stolen from vehicles," said Chief Shields.
The chief said she wants to go hard after the adult gangs and get prosecutors to slap additional gang status charges against them when they are caught.
As for teens involved in the juvenile gangs, the chief believes, there is an opportunity to try to catch those youngsters and get them involved in community programs.
She will have the backing of activists Michael Langford and Derrick Boazman. On Thursday afternoon, the two announced a program aimed at getting Atlanta pastors involved in the anti-gang fight.