Part 2: Gangs in South MS - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Part 2: Gangs in South MS

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The Jones County Gang Task Force says there are at least 50-100 active gang members in the area.

In November of last year, the Jones County Sheriff's Department was given a $12,500 grant to start a gang task force.

"As long as we can keep it going, we're here and we want everybody to know that we are here," says Tonya Madison.

As the director of the task force, Madison works alongside four deputies.

"We have to get out in the neighborhood and do things such as gang awareness to find out what gangs are in what areas," says Madison.

The information they collect is put into a database for the sheriff's department.

"What we collect is there names, nicknames, who they are affiliated with and their colors," says Madison.

"We've got the C-Blocks, the Hoy Boy Gang and the Soo Woo, which is an extension of the Blood Gang," says Madison.

Clint McKissack is one of the task force's deputies who questions some of the gang members.

"One of the first things I'd like to ask them is how did you first get started and who did you meet."

He says this helps them understand how gangs form in South Mississippi.

"They've all started from California and Chicago and have filtered down," says Madison.

People from other states and counties are recruiting and building that foundation," says Madison.

Lt. Jon Traxler of the Hattiesburg Police Department says gangs are not a huge problem within the city limits, but admits they are there.

"To insure that these organizations and groups aren't trying to do things that they shouldn't, we have our specialty units that focus on these groups to try to keep them in line."

"A lot of these gang members could have good futures, and you are not going to get that future in a gang. I'm sorry," says McKissack.

The task force says it will continue working to try to stop to gang violence in South Mississippi.

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