Alderman Speaks Out on Violent Crime - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/16/02

Alderman Speaks Out on Violent Crime

Within the past two weeks, Harris O'Dell III was shot and killed in is driveway and Star Corporal Martin White was shot twice while sitting in his patrol car. Last night's carjacking was just the latest in a string of very-high profile crimes in Savannah and Chatham County. In fact, the number of violent crimes committed in Savannah this year is down slightly from last year, but the murder rate is up. Savannah Police Chief Dan Flynn declined an interview, but we spoke with city alderman and retired SPD Lieutenant David Jones, who says things need to change.

"I'm very concerned about crime. It needs to stop and we need to make that effort," said Jones.

Alderman Jones spent 31 years out patrolling the streets as a Savannah police officer.

"We need to get back to the old-fashioned police work and make people feel we're doing everything we can to protect them," he said.

Before crimes happen, Jones feels more officers need to be out of their cars on patrol, talking with neighbors, learning what's going on.

"We need to get a handle on drugs," he said. "We need to get every drug house or corner reported. People are calling me left and right, and nobody's done anything."

Alderman Jones says one murder, one shooting, is too much for this city, and it's time for police to take back the streets.

"I asked the city manager some time ago to let police loose, let them do their job without restrictions," he told us. "It's time we did that."

Alderman Jones says he solved the majority of his cases by just staying on his beat, being very active in neighborhoods he patrolled. He says if we don't have the manpower to allow officers to do that now, then maybe we'll need more police patrolling.

Reported by: Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

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