COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — This week, you are going to hear the word gang, and the term criminal street gang a lot. 

WRBL will have a prime-time special on Friday beginning at 8 looking at violence and the gang problem here in Columbus. 

So, what’s the definition of a gang? 

You are about to hear – definition matters when you talk about gangs. And we are going to give you three definitions of gangs.

First, we will hear from Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr. His office has the legal power and resources to prosecute gang members. 

“Well, it’s an organized group of people that are making money off of committing crimes,” Carr said. “And right now, it’s all about making money. Whether it’s selling guns, drugs, human beings, cybercrime benefits, any way that you can make money off of something. These organized groups are doing smash and grabs, whether it’s the Home Depot or Lowe’s. So, you’ve got different kind of groups that are coming together committing crimes, and making money off of it.” 

Now we will hear from Cara Convery, Carr’s section chief for the Attorney General’s Gang Unit.

“So, a gang is defined for us technically by the statute, which is three or more individuals associated, in fact, formal or informal, that do criminal street gang activity,” Convery said. “And our statute — a very, very powerful one — defines that in a variety of ways. But to include violent crimes, things like the attorney general talked about, things that make money for that enterprise, a group of individuals who use that enterprise to do crimes, grow their power, grow their territory in a given community, and really make money and become profitable in the ways that they define profitable.” 

Now, we will hear from former Georgia state Senator Gary Parker, who practiced law in Columbus for nearly four decades.
He talks about context when it comes to gangs. And listen to this illustration he uses to tease his wife.

“I tease my wife all the time, because my wife is an AKA (Alpha Kappa Alpha),” Parker said. “Well, I tease her and say, ‘Well, you know, you’re a gang member, don’t you?’ She says, ‘I’m not a gang member.’ I say, ‘Don’t you have colors?’ She says, ‘Yeah.’ Well, gangs have colors. Don’t you throw hand signs?’ She says, ‘Yes.’ I said, well, ‘Gangs throw hand signs.’ In fact, all the D-9s have colors, all the D-9s have hand signs. So, the issue about gangs is there’s nothing bad about gangs. You just got to learn to have enough good gangs to compete with the bad gangs and turn our children’s attention to being involved in a good gang.”