New approach reduces crime rate St. Patrick’s Day weekend

SAVANNAH, Ga. – “Coming into this festival we made it clear that our focus was going to be on alcohol-related issues and I think we did a great job in keeping that promise to you guys,” Major DeVonn Adams, with Savannah-Chatham Metro, said.

Twenty-three arrested for alcohol related issues, including eight underage drinkers, is what Savannah-Chatham police announced at Monday afternoon’s press conference. They call that a success for the holiday weekend.

“We’re aggressive and very open and out there with the public when it came to if you’re going to start acting like ruckus we’re going to remove you,” Major Robert Gavin, with Savannah-Chatham Metro, said.

Police did just that. They were able to arrest more people this year compared to 2016’s festival. Police say their heavy police presence made the difference.

“When we had our officers out there we wanted it so when you went this way you saw an officer,” Gavin said. “When you went to this intersection you saw an officer.”

That presence helped to keep the more dangerous crimes away.

“We would like to commend the rest of the men from the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department that took care of the county while we were down here in the festival area,” Adams said. “We didn’t have any violent crimes during/outside of the festival area.”

And the festival zone wasn’t the only place police protected you.

“With Georgia State Patrol they gave us over 100 troopers for man power,” Adams said. “As a result of that along with our traffic HEAT unit we were able to focus on traffic citations and DUIs.”

Those are efforts they plan to use as they begin to plan for the festival next year.

“We take what we do after actions on all festival incidents like this and we find out what worked and what didn’t,” Gavin said.

Police have already begun planning their focus for next year. They’ll find what worked and what they can improve on using other festivals throughout this year.

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