LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett County police say some 300 criminals are off the streets thanks to an operation they're calling the "South Surge."
Since it began on Aug. 18, the surge has meant flooding the department's south precinct -- which covers unincorporated areas of Stone Mountain, Lilburn, Snellville, Centerville, Loganville and Lawrenceville -- with an increased number of officers and high-profile operations. The results are just over 3,000 traffic citations and more than 300 arrests, including 65 felony arrests.
Officers were primarily targeting "part one" crimes like burglary, entering auto, homicide and robbery.
"The purpose of the 'South Surge' was to reduce these crimes by saturating high crime areas with an increased number of officers," Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said. "These officers have conducted multiple high-visibility, proactive details during the past month."
According to Smith, uniform officers not assigned to patrol functions in other precincts have been brought in to participate in the effort. Some 80 or so have been brought in, effectively doubling the regular police presence in the area.
On top of that, the department has implemented a series of different details to attack crime:
-- Daily road checks in "high crime areas and in heavy traffic flow areas"
-- "Rigorously pursued" warrant sweeps during all shifts
-- Probation and parole sweeps
-- Foot patrols in high-crime areas selected based on "past reports of street level narcotics transactions, loitering and prowling and other various crimes"
-- Increased patrols in various south precinct parks
Police said a number of significant arrests have occurred as a result of the surge, including Wednesday night's arrest of Lawrenceville murder suspect Mark Wilson. Other arrests have included traffic stops yielding a pound of marijuana and a half-pound of cocaine.
"As this detail comes to a close, we are very pleased with the results," Smith said. "Over 300 criminals were removed from the street."
"Due to a number of significant arrests," he added, "we predict a decrease in the number of all part one crimes will results from this detail in the upcoming months."