On Second Thought For Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dec 15, 2016

This show is focused on crime in Georgia. This whole hour, we talk about how to handle it among young people, how to solve it when the trail goes cold, and how to write about it when it’s imaginary.

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Education shows high school graduation rates in the state rose by about 6 percent in the last year. For the last few years, the city of Savannah has been trying to reach out to at-risk youth who may end up in the school to prison pipeline. Every summer for seven weeks, Savannah-Chatham County youth can be part of a pre-apprentice program. We learn more about how the program works.

Georgia is home to a very committed group of amateur detectives. For years, they’ve volunteered their time to investigate unsolved criminal cases. We spoke with LaShaun Bates, a longtime volunteer, and Sheryl McCollum, who oversees the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute.

We take a ride along with Georgia State Trooper Mark Smith, who lost his leg in 2006 while serving in the Marines. Yet, he still passed trooper school without a problem. Smith is the first amputee to graduate from the school for state troopers. He’s from Macon and works out of the post in Perry. Our producer took a ride with him and brought back this audio postcard.

One of the most successful writers in Georgia is author Karin Slaughter. She has sold more than 36 million books. Slaughter writes crime thrillers and uses Georgia for her setting. We spoke to her about her book “Pretty Girls,” released last year. It’s about two women whose teenaged sister vanished without a trace. Slaughter explains why Georgia is such fertile ground for crime fiction.