BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The Burke County Sheriff’s Office is working to combat gang- related crimes. The state is giving the agency a grant to help.

“It’s to hire a crime analyst to study our crime data and forecast where crimes may occur so that we can work to avoid them before they happen,” said Sheriff Alfonzo Williams.

Sheriff Williams is asking the Burke County Commission approve a $1.3 million grant, aimed to prevent violent crime.

The sheriff is looking to hire a crime analyst. He’s also working with an organization to help young people who commit crimes get their diplomas.

“90% of your crimes are committed by 18-24 year-olds. 38% of those 18-24 year-olds don’t have high school diplomas,” said Dr. Annise Mabry, Tiers Free Academy founder.

Sheriff Williams says the department is constantly working to prevent violence in the area. He says this grant will help. “Even in our schools we are very aggressive in terms of making sure if it’s gang activity related, we’re going to recognize it as such and treat it as such,” said Sheriff Williams.

Sheriff Williams says they want to take a different approach. “So we approached this from a holistic perspective, addressing mental health and education.”