Police using high tech program to fight gangs - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Police using high tech program to fight gangs

Memphis police are using a high-tech program to fight gangs in our schools and in our neighborhoods.

"We used to just say everybody was a gang member depending on what they wore, how they wore it, things like that," Godwin said.

But, things are changing, especially after a series of school shootings tied to gang activity.

Investigators said they are keeping tabs on gang members.

"It's important to verify and it's important to maintain that database and to, uh, so many of our crimes are connected to gangs and gang-on-gang so it's important that we keep up with that," Godwin said.

A questionnaire pushes the process forward.

Police can "survey" any suspected gang member upon arrest.

There is a checklist with point values attached to each question.

As soon as a suspect hits ten points total, the suspect is considered a gang-member.

All the information gathered enters a department-wide database.

Memphis police estimated the number of active gang members in the city at between seven and nine thousand.

Another five thousand claim it, but really are just wannabes.

"Let's determine if they're gang members, who they're affiliated with and you know we've put some undercover officers pretty deep into many gangs and we've made a heck of an impact," Godwin said.

Memphis police are also sharing the information they have gathered online.

Outlining the history of gangs in Memphis, how to spot a gang member, and how to get involved.

It is all part of addressing an issue that Godwin said never ends.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney

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