Chatham Co. DA Heap focusing on expanding county's 'Intercept' program for at-risk youth

Updated: Jan. 3, 2017 at 5:14 PM EST
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CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap was sworn into office again on Tuesday.

Heap definitely says Savannah's rising crime rate is a growing issue that is starting young. She says she's seeing more and more offenders who are just kids.

As she took her Oath of Office Tuesday, she starting her term with one big goal at the forefront: To expand the county's "Intercept" program. It's aimed at protecting and educating young adults and teenagers who are at risk.

It starts when they are admitted to the hospital with an injury from an apparent violent crime. She says statistics show from this group, within a year, they are at risk for two outcomes either committing a homicide or becoming a victim themselves.

She says she is pushing for the county to continue efforts to step in and work with schools and communities to keep these kids on the right path.

"Almost think of it as like a net. I'm trying to scoop up and stop whatever I can. I'm not going to catch them all. But if we can, you know, save one or two kids from ever going into the criminal justice system - cause once you get in, from state and juvie - you're in juvenile court. By the time you get to superior court, you know some of these kids don't understand," said Heap.

She says they have already seen a lot of success from the program already, but this year they are hoping to continue that on as they devote more efforts towards it.

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