It’s been one week since hundreds of eastside Savannians packed a church demanding police and city leaders find solutions to the latest rash of violent crime in their neighborhood.
Still many feel questions from that meeting were left unanswered by city council members.
“City officials will say we are short officers, so if we are not spending the money on the officers what are we doing with the money?,” asks Eastside resident George Seaborough
That’s the question the Eastside Alliance wants to take to Savannah city leaders.
“We need to see immediate action, they don’t need to be worried about spending money on a new civic center or ballpark that kind of thing, right now they need to be putting those funds towards the police,” says alliance administrator Alan Williams.
When asked about the more than 90 vacancies in metro police, members of the group hear that the police are working on it. A majority of the members have commemorated the efforts of metro Chief Jack Lumpkin since his arrival in Savannah. They feel the magnifying glass needs to be put on city council, members want to know since there are so many vacancies, then where is that money going that would be set aside to pay officers.
“We plan to file an open information request to actually see where the money is going,” says Seaborough who adds, “but then to also go back and work on the petition, think about a curfew to figure out the best ways we can help our city move forward for safety.”
A majority of members look to take this direction petitioning the city to put a moratorium on infrastructure projects and more towards raising police salaries to motivate more hiring. Still others think a focus on community should be apart of the groups agenda.
“You can bring in as many cops in here as you want, you can enforce a curfew all the way to seven or six o clock, but I think if you don’t start from the fundamentals.. these kids are going to just continue to cause, to cause crime,” says Madisson Solt who says she constantly hears gunfire blocks from her home off of Hawthorne.
Formal petitions and meetings with city aldermen are now the next steps for the alliance as they work to get a grasp of solving crime on the Eastside.
Members of the group plan to host a neighborhood cleanup Saturday June 6th from 9 until noon along the portions of 56th street on the eastside. More information about the group can be found here.