Gang activity has now become a way of life in Thomson.
Just a year ago, local authorities had hoped they could stop it from becoming a reality. Unfortunately, such was not the case.
But that does not mean local law enforcement agencies do not want to stop such criminal behavior.
The police chief, in fact, wants to stop it in its tracks as quickly as possible in order to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Thomson Police Chief Joseph D. Nelson says he's ready to tackle the issue head-on.
"Gang activity is a violation of Georgia law and we're not going to tolerate such behavior on the streets of Thomson, Ga.," Chief Nelson said in a recent in depth interview with The McDuffie Mirror .
"This is not normal behavior and we're going to do everything in our power to stop gang violence."
Since becoming the new chief of police in Thomson earlier this year, Chief Nelson says he has noticed a rise in gang activity.
Police have been able to identify at least three gang groups operating within the city limits.
The local gang names include Gangster Disciples, The Bloods and The Folk Nation.
Those gangs include both male and female teenagers, as well as young adults, the police chief said.
"We've had some fights that have been connected to gangs," Chief Nelson said.
"I want these gang members to understand that we're not going to have this kind of criminal behavior going on in Thomson. and if they persist in breaking the law, they will go to jail. And I will see to it, personally, that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Chief Nelson described gang activity as a barbaric way of life.
"It is unacceptable," Chief Nelson said. "It must be stomped out and stomped out, immediately."
Many gang members come from single-parent households, Chief Nelson said.
"A lot of them are kids that don't fit in with other kids," he pointed out.
"They are kids who simply want to be part of something and accepted. Joining a gang, however, is not the way to go."
Those who make the decision to join gangs have no idea what they are getting themselves into, Chief Nelson said.
"I would suggest to them right away that they had better wake up and realize that breaking the law will only wind you up in jail or prison," he added.
In closing, Chief Nelson cautioned those who are local gang members to be watching for him and his officers.
"We're not playing games," he said.
"This is serious business. We're going to be watching and if we see gang activity going on or crimes being committed by those who are either gang members or want-to-be gang members, we're going to take them to jail on criminal charges."