It’s been a violent year in Savannah – with violent crime up 20-percent across Metro’s jurisdiction – with an even bigger spike happening the first full week of this month. News 3 is breaking down the numbers and the reasons behind the rise in tonight’s WSAV Crime Tracker report.
The number of violent crimes in Savannah doubled in the first full week of September from the weekly average we saw in 2014. Much of that crime was concentrated in one area of town. News 3 spoke to WSAV Crime Expert Gerry Long to get some insight into why. She says violent crime in Savannah has been on the rise all year…so a jump the first full week in September isn’t surprising, “Some of that violent crime – ag assaults, homicides and things like that are really a holdover from what we’ve seen during the summer – we’ve had an extremely violent summer really all over in the northern part of the city and that just really kind of carrying over through the weekend.”
In the first week of September, the most violent crimes more than doubled the weekly average from 2014. There were two homicides – compared to a weekly average of one last year. Four commercial robberies compared to a weekly average of two in 2014. Twelve street robberies compared to an average six per week last year. And twelve aggravated assaults with a gun compared to the average of four per week in 2014. More than half of the increase occurred in the downtown precinct – but the question is why. Long explains, “There was the craft brew fest, there was the bacon fest – there was all kinds of activities going on around downtown, so it is a higher density population where more incidents are going to occur.”
Plus hotels full of visitors for the long weekend…who she says don’t always realize Savannah isn’t a sleepy small town, “Scarlett does not live here anymore – people are very surprised in the sense that this is an urban area – they think of it as very slow, it’s hot, the moss, and they are not paying attention – where in fact – just like if you walk in downtown Atlanta – I’m not saying that’s crime ridden or not crime ridden – but you’re paying attention, when you’re walking around in New York – you’re paying attention – and you need to be doing the same thing in Savannah.”
Long says visitors to our city can take steps to insure their safety – like not flashing large sums of money, walk in well-lit areas, don’t walk alone and of course simply pay attention to your surroundings.