Gangs recruit members and commit crimes in our area, but they don’t always stay here.
Now the state of Georgia is working to connect communities and target the gang members travelling through them.
The Georgia Gang Intelligence Platform has been around since 2016. Its design, to identify gang members not just where they live but where they travel and commit crimes, statewide.
“There are no jurisdictional lines. They are all over the place,” said Scott Dutton, GBI Deputy Director.
“They” are gangs in Georgia.
Chatham County has seen its fair share of violence from them, and the problem is growing exponentially according to investigators.
Now the Georgia Gang Intelligence Platform wants to find those gangs, wherever they may be.
“If they enter a piece of information an identifying piece of information the platform can identify a connection in another jurisdiction,” said Samantha Wolf from PAC.
The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), in partnership with the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia (PAC) and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), announced today that there are now over 33,000 gang member profiles in the Georgia Gang Intelligence Platform and more than 25,000 connections have been made across investigative case files.
The platform started with a $300,000 grant from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council back in 2016.
“This is a big accomplishment and important step in addressing criminal gang activity in Georgia,” said CJCC Executive Director, Jay Neal. “This is one part of the multifaceted approach the state is taking to increase public safety as it relates to gang-related crime.”
“The idea behind this platform if someone in Chatham County affects someone in Atlanta or has connections, we want the city of Atlanta to know.” said Chris Tolbert, GBI Investigator.
Through a statewide platform, Georgia ensures local law enforcement professionals have access to information about gang members in their jurisdictions who are also active in other areas of the state. The networked data in the Georgia Gang Intelligence Platform allows law enforcement and prosecutors to gather and present evidence in accordance with the requirements for proving gang-related activities under Georgia’s gang statute.
These cross jurisdictional connections allow investigators to understand the threat. To solve their crimes and make stronger cases against the gang members. Many of whom wouldn’t have been known, or found without this tool.
“They are constantly morphing, they identitfy in different ways and pop up all over the place,” said Tolbert.
“Build strong investigations and strong cases that will be ushed to prosecutiors for prosecution and secure more convictions in the long run,” said Samantha Wolf of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.
The platform has made a difference already and will only grow larger and better.
The CJCC has just awarded $2.6m in federal JAG funds to the GBI to expand the program’s reach.
“The importance of this project cannot be overstated,” said PAC Executive Director Pete Skandalakis. “The platform, coupled with the Georgia Gang statute, provides law enforcement and prosecutors valuable and needed tools to build strong cases against known gang members and identify connections, which ultimately makes our communities safer.”