Federal agents increasing their presence in Chatham County

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:17 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A portion of the Savannah office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives now focuses solely on working with police departments in Chatham to address violent crime.

The main goal is obviously to curb violent gun crimes by targeting those behind them, especially repeat offenders.

“I guess a good analogy to use would be a kind of scalpel approach, where we can go in and identify the small percentage of people that are committing the bulk of the violent crime,” Matthew Beccio, ATF, Savannah Field Office said.

Supervisory Special Agent Beccio has been making the rounds to meet with the leaders of all the police departments within Chatham County, strengthening partnerships with each, and letting those leaders know what resources the ATF can lend to help address serious gun crimes in their respective jurisdictions.

“One of the things we’re doing here at the ATF here in Savannah is we’re kind of bringing a data driven, an intelligence driven approach to violent crime,” Beccio said.

Special Agent Beccio says the ATF and local partner agencies can utilize resources like the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, which analyzes shell casings recovered at crime scenes, and can link the guns used to other crimes if possible.

Beccio says when it comes to prosecuting cases involving gun crimes, he’s looking forward to working with the special prosecutor the City of Savannah is looking to bring on board to handle violent crime cases.

“I was very pleased to hear it, I am also very optimistic that it will be a help to us,” Beccio says.

And with port activity continuing to grow, Special Agent Beccio says so is their cooperation with other federal agencies like Homeland Security to crack down on gun trafficking.

“We are looking at different angles here that involve potentially groups that are trying to get more involved in the port, criminal groups that are trying to get more involved in the port. So we are taking a very close look at that as well. Because we see that as an emerging trend here in Savannah.”