DECATUR, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation gave an update on the GBI Gang Task Force’s two-year effort to combat street gangs.

GBI Director Vic Reynolds says gang-related or motivated crimes are both a state and national issue. “Somewhere between 48% on the low end, 90% on the high end of all violent crimes are committed by criminal street gang members,” he said. “We will do everything in our state’s power to step in, protect our citizens,” Kemp said. “The Gang Task Force strengthened public safety. They’re ending human trafficking and supporting our law enforcement in local police departments,” he said.

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Officials say, in fiscal year 2020, the GBI was involved in 343 gang-related or motivated crime investigations, and that number had increased to 541 in FY 2021. “These investigations have involved close to 70 different street gangs and their subsets,” Reynolds said, referencing several of the gangs identified in Georgia, including the Bloods, Crips, MS-13 and Aryan Brotherhood.

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Kemp also addressed Atlanta’s violent crime spike from over the last year. “A lack of elected leadership in our Capitol City is creating an anti-police, soft on crime environment,” he said. Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant recently said gangs are an issue in the city, but he said arguments between acquaintances was the top reason for the spike. Kemp referenced how juveniles are behind many of these crimes. “Most likely, I would assume that they’re being enticed by older gang members,” said Kemp.

Officials say partnerships with multiple agencies are helping to combat the gang violence and local crime. “Chief Bryant has been a great partner for us, especially going after street racing,” said Kemp. “I am ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any local law enforcement, personnel or agency to go after gangs, violent crime and street racing,” he said. Regional gang specialists and legal teams have aided in the task force investigations. “The stage has been set, and the GBI continues to be a force multiplier for the state,” said GBI Director of Legal Services Jaret Usher.

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They’re urging people to play a role in the fight against crime. “If you see something, you say something,” said Reynolds. He said members of the public should reach out to their local law enforcement agencies to report any crimes.