JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gangs, drugs and shootings. Glynn County in South Georgia says they’ve seen an increase in all three and are creating a new street crimes unit.
That unit will consist of Glynn County Sheriff's office, Glynn Police and Brunswick Police.
"Actually was hired when I was 20, I’m 23 now,” Brunswick officer Andrew Blair said.
In that short time, officer Andrew Blair has covered over 50 shootings, collecting over a 1,000 shell casings along the way.
Blair is among several officers responding to an increase in shootings in the surrounding area in the last few months. As a result, three surrounding areas are coming together as one.
“The ones that are involved in these shootings in the city and county, they don’t respect jurisdictional lines, so we don’t either, we’re going to work together,” Brunswick Police Chief Kevin Jones said.
Glynn County Sheriff’s Office, Glynn County and Brunswick police are teaming up to create a new street crimes unit.
“ I’ve got 612 beds here and I’d be more than happy to fill them up with the ones that we arrest,” Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump said.
Jump says most recent shootings are gang on gang, but their actions are a concern for everyone.
“We don’t want a small child or elderly woman shot in their own home as these thugs are driving up and down the street,” Jump said.
Not only has crime gone up, the criminals are getting younger.
Jackie Johnson, District Attorney, Brunswick:
“The level of violence that we’re seeing on our streets are younger guys that are being recruited by mid-level dealers to do their bidding. We’re seeing a lot of cases involving, 17, 18, 19, 20 year olds.They’re getting younger and there’s a misconception that if they’re under the age of 17, they can’t be prosecuted as an adult,” Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson said.
Johnson has a message for those that think they'd get away as a juvenile, in Georgia, you can be charged as an adult if you’re associated with a gang activity, regardless of age.
”We have a good idea of who is doing a lot of these shootings, talk on the street is not just enough to put charges on people,” Chief Jones said.
Chief Jones hopes this new unit will be able to do just that.
"We’re going to put heat on these neighborhoods where these folks live, hang out, congregate, the ones that are doing these shootings and stop this.”
Close to a dozen in uniform will be assigned to this special street crimes unit to patrol high crime areas daily in hopes of turning these growing statistics around.