Chatham Co. District Attorney proposes gang database - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Chatham Co. District Attorney proposes gang database

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Operation Ceasefire became “End Gun Violence – Step Forward”.

But the name change doesn’t alter the focus of the city’s effort to arrest the most violent groups and gang members operating in Savannah.

Making connections between gangs and gang members, and other affiliations in Chatham County and beyond, would be huge for police and prosecutors.

To help them do that, Chatham District Attorney Meg Heap wants to have a gang database.

"I'm really excited. It's been used successfully in Atlanta. And again I say if we can take these initiatives that are used in other cities, bring them here, my sole goal is to reduce, take out, eliminate those that are committing the violent crime in Savannah,” said Heap.

Heap said Savannah has been selected as one of four pilot programs state-wide to utilize the database project, $50,000 of that will come from the state. Funds seized from local criminals will take care of part of the other half.

"I spoke to someone in Atlanta and they said some of their members do come down to Savannah. I'm not surprised. I'd love to build a wall, we can't,” said Heap.

"It's intelligence-led policing. We have to utilize the intelligence and mindset in order to identify individuals and prosecute them,” said SCMPD Police Chief Jack Lumpkin.

Chief Lumpkin said law enforcement locally has fallen short in years past when it comes to sharing intel. The information compiled into the proposed database will be hard evidence that organized crime is in fact an issue in Savannah.

"We will have the data to show you that it is. And we've received some kickback, people saying we don't have a problem. That's not true. And I think it's played out in the city of Savannah, and on the streets of Savannah,” said Heap.

There are many communities in the country that have or had gang problems that use a similar data base to combat this kind of violence.

Heap's next step is to get County Commission approval to use that forfeited money. She’ll attempt that on Friday.

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