Anti-gang unit looking at new ways to fight crime in Waco area

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 12:34 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Waco Texas Anti-Gang Unit is taking new steps to fight crime in Central Texas by looking at how and where gang activity is happening.

Recently, two crime analysts joined the unit to help make that happen. James Bonewitz, administrator for the Waco TAG Center, said the analysts will enhance the work law enforcement agencies are able to do.

Bonewitz said there are dozens of people involved in the unit, including members of the Waco Police Department, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, Texas DPS, ATF and McLennan County District Attorney’s Office.

The analysts will have access to many different databases and statistics, and Bonewitz said they will be able to compile that data and analyze it for the unit.

“Information is power,” Bonewitz said. “The more you can develop your information and put it in the collective place, the more effective you’re going to be.”

Bonewitz said the work the analysts will do is going to be critical in the work of the unit.

“We look forward to the analysts to really enhance the operations of TAG center, to be able to do strategic analysis to identify where our worst problems are, do predictive analysis to tell us where our crime may be going,” Bonewitz said.

In addition to compiling data to track crime, Bonewitz said the analysts will also organize information and even create visual aids for the district attorneys’ office as it prosecutes crime.

The analyst role extends beyond data and information. The position will also be responsible for community outreach and education.

Bonewitz said there will eventually be a website with information about crime trends and what kind of tips are most helpful for law enforcement.

“It can be as small as tagging, common symbols that they see in a particular geographical area,” Bonewitz said. “Record that, what they’re seeing, maybe post pictures to the website to make the TAG officers involved aware, and even who they’re seeing, maybe.”

Bonewitz said in the time the unit has been working, which has been close to a year, the TAG unit has arrested almost 140 gang members, and been involved in several major drug busts.

“I really do think that the Waco TAG unit is going to be a super project for the local community and outside of Waco, to impact violent crime and make quality of life better.”

The Waco TAG Unit is one of several across the state, and they are created in part by Governor Greg Abbott’s office.

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