There have been seven attacks on teens and young women on the West side of Savannah since August 25th last year. There are a number of similarities between the attacks – starting with their locations. The attacks occurred within about a one mile radius between 42nd and 46th Streets – between Burroughs Street and the Laurel Grove Cemetery. The latest attack happened at West 46th and Bulloch Streets about 8 o’clock Wednesday morning. There was also an eighth similar attack in July – about six blocks south of here. In each a young woman was grabbed from the street or a lane – in most they were able to get away…but despite more than a year of incidents – no suspect is in custody.
The area where the attacks have occurred are neighborhoods with a lot of children moving through. WSAV Crime Expert Gerry Long says, “This is on the way to and from several schools in the area – whether you’re going to the high school or middle school or an elementary school – you have a lot of kids that are out and about in the morning on their way.” With no suspect in custody – police haven’t been able to say definitively if the attacks are being committed by the same person – but similarities in the suspect description and the method of attack certainly raises that possibility…as does the fact that most of the attacks occurred around the same time of day – early in the morning – as the students were heading to school says Long, “So there is a narrow window when these are in fact occurring – kind of very specific timelines and all but one in the early morning.”
The majority also happened on a Monday – others also early in the week which Long says could provide a clue, “This is a person who either lives around here – which is a possibility – or someone who is traversing to work and going down Victory or 52nd Street.” She says it will take vigilance by neighbors to help catch whoever’s responsible, “Neighborhoods have ebbs and flows – and you know who’s going to work in the morning – you know who’s coming home from the nightshift and what kind of cars are supposed to be there and who rides a bike and so when you see something that doesn’t quite add up to what you’re used to, then you should call because it’s that – oh, it’s not a big deal that allows another incident to occur.”
In the meantime, she says parents should be telling their children to be aware, “About don’t allow someone to come within three feet of you – cause that’s this distance, being able to grab somebody – you always want to keep your distance from somebody and you know pay attention to what’s going on – walk to and from school with somebody, you know – let me know when you’re leaving, let me know when you’re coming home.” She says it’s important all incidents are reported – to further the investigation and help authorities know when and where to put more patrols.
Both Metro Police and School district Police are continuing increased patrols in the area especially during arrival and dismissal times. The district has also sent out notices to parents urging them to pay close attention and take care with making sure their children get to and from school safely.