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Georgia’s attorney general hosted anti-gang network meeting in Columbus

Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 5:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr believes new legislation will help the state target and dismantle gangs in Georgia’s largest cities, including Columbus.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is expected to sign House Bill 1134 into law this week.

The bill gives the attorney general increased authority to prosecute gang-related crimes at the city level.

A room filled with the head of state, federal and local law enforcement agencies all gathered for the Attorney General’s Anti-Gang Network meeting.

A task force was created in 2017, creating communication partnerships between law enforcement agencies on all levels throughout the state.

“When you collaborate and you leverage the resources that local state and federal law enforcement have, you have better success,” said Carr.

Gang crimes and violence are plaguing many communities throughout Georgia and Columbus is no exception.

According to intel from the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, there are more than 150 known gang affiliations in Columbus.

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson was one of several local leaders in attendance at the meeting.

“We take very seriously the number one priority and that’s to keep people safe. Right now we are struggling to try to make sure we are addressing those issues,” said Henderson.

The meeting, which was partially closed as authorities discussed possible strategies, addressed new and ongoing measures to decrease gang violence in counties and cities throughout the state.

The recent passing of House Bill 1134 now gives the attorney general’s office enhanced authority to prosecute gang-related crimes along with local law enforcement.

“The key is to put them away as long as we can, make an example of them to send a message to some of the younger gang members,” said Henderson.

Carr said the bill will allow his office to create a prosecutions unit, where they will work with district attorneys throughout the state.

“We will have 12 individuals who will be working full time on gang,” said Carr.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

If signed into law the bill will go into effect in July.

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