Savannah Mayor Eddie Deloach gave his State of the City address at the Johnny Mercer Theater Thursday.
Crime was a major focus. The mayor said he is pleased with the small reduction in crime and happy with the trend, but not satisfied.
“Council and the chief are not satisfied and I know the citizens are not,” said Deloach. “Crime and public safety will continue to be our number one priority until everyone in our group can set there and say, ‘We feel safe in every neighborhood in Savannah.’”
Deloach said the past staffing shortages at the police department are unacceptable and reported that the department will be at full staff for the first time in 40 years. He also urged the public to play a role in fighting crime. “If you see something, say something,” Deloach said.
The mayor also announced a new initiative called Savannah Shines. It will be an effort to turn the city’s blighted and abandoned properties into affordable housing for the 6,000 residents who qualify, but currently have no affordable options. He promised the program wouldn’t force people from their homes.
“Our citizens should not be scared that illegal activities are going on in a boarded up property next door to them,” said Deloach. “We must fix this issue for our residents. Working with the private sector, we will make Savannah Shines a success.”
Citizens who attended the address hope that solutions to Savannah’s problems will come from all areas of the city.
“I believe we do need input from several different groups of people so that we can collectively work together as a community,” said Lillian Williams, a business owner. “So, I believe he’s trying to reach out to everyone and so I felt good.”
The mayor also talked about the success of his youth jobs program and is hoping more businesses will step up this coming summer.