Ga. officials meet here to map strategy against gangs

Anti-gang meeting
Anti-gang meeting(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia’s attorney general was in Evans discussing the state’s push to crack down on gang violence.

Georgia’s Anti-Gang Network unit went into effect in early July. Attorney General Chris Carr says 60 to 90 percent of violent crime is gang-related.

We were at the meeting, and for years we’ve heard officials say gang violence is a priority, but what’s different about this new state-wide task force?

They couldn’t give us a lot of details because that would tip off criminals, but what they could say is this new task force works to get to the kids before the gangs can.

It’s about forming relationships. They tell us it’s the first time the state has ever worked with the feds and the locals on this level.

“Gangs are recruiting younger and younger all the time. As young as the third and fourth grade,” Carr said.

Law enforcement agencies across the state came together to discuss what to do to combat the rise of gangs.

“We know that 80 percent of human trafficking cases are gang-affiliated,” he said.

Carr says the most important thing that came out of the meeting was relationships in schools, mentorships, and law enforcement offices.

Columbia County District Attorney Bobby Christie says they added 40 more officers in their schools.

“Those sorts of relationships that we have with the students on the front edge before it because a tidal wave they can catch in the wading pool. When they have a child, they identify as somebody getting courted or groomed by a gang they can intercede and God willing save that tragedy,” he said.

It wasn’t just law enforcement and DAs in attendance. Richmond and Columbia County School District were there. Representatives from AU, Augusta Tech, and Paine College and senators and state representatives.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said: “The active engagement with our educational institution’s middle school, high school, really elementary school. We need to be engaging with these young kids and showing them there is an alternative path for them.”

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