Beefed-up security around Savannah is having a positive effect on crime. The city is hoping it can learn from the G-8 lockdown. There is no doubt the police and military presence has made a big impact. For the most part, there was no major violence or shootings.
Mayor Otis Johnson thinks G-8 security may have supplied some crime-fighting solutions. G-8 security, he says, has highlighted the keys to eliminating crime: high police visibility, targeting problem neighborhoods, and strong foot patrols.
"We can reduce our crime problem in Savannah and learn something from this," he said.
Of course, 10,000 extra police officers doesn't hurt. Police patrols have been beefed up all over the city, and Army National Guardsmen have been on almost every street corner. Savannah-Chatham police admit it's a nice feeling. "It could be described as a very quiet week," said police spokesman Bucky Burnsed.
Burnsed says it has been a relatively crime-free week, but insists local police presence and visibility has remained consistent. "We have just as many officers in our neighborhoods on patrol right now as we did the week before the G-8 summit started," he told us.
Mayor Johnson supports the local police, but feels there is always room for improvement. "A lot of us are striving for perfection," he said. "We need to realize nothing's perfect."
Mayor Johnson will meet with the Savannah-Chatham police chief next week to compare crime stats from two weeks ago to this past week. He's hoping they can pinpoint which patrol methods work, and what does not.