COLUMBUS, Ga. — Hand in hand with crime gangs are a growing concern in Columbus, but why do people decide to join the different organizations?
Doctor Xavier McCaskey is a former gang member who grew up on the Southside of Columbus. He says there are many reasons why people decide to join gangs.
“They come from displaced homes, dysfunctional homes, parents are incarcerated, might have a parent on drugs father isn’t around in some cases the mother isn’t around,” said McCaskey.
McCaskey started participating in the gang lifestyle when he was only 18-years-old. Now times have changed, McCaskey told us kids are joining gangs as young as 10-years-old.
“They’re learning from a lot of different sources you have You Tube you have free social media they’re reading books or they’re looking at older people old gangsters or people who have been a part of gangs they’re idolizing people,” McCaskey said.
We asked McCaskey how he became apart.
“It starts off innocent and somewhere along the way it got violent it went from us being a stepping crew or just wearing jackets, talking to women. Then it went from us versus them, them versus us. We went from hand fighting maybe someone had a knife, then it went to pistol play,” McCaskey told News 3’s Ken Martin.
McCaskey is encouraging community leaders to step up and get involved in communities across the city.
“We need to start at 5 when they first go to school. You don’t associate with those people. You don’t do this. That’s now how to treat people,” said McCaskey.
McCaskey would also like to see more after school programs and activities in place to keep kids out of gangs.