The latest numbers show violent crime is down in Savannah but public perception may be a different story.
Two young people killed less than 24 hours apart and less than a mile away from each other.
WTOC spoke to the mother and grandmother of 21-year-old Rebecca Foley, a Savannah State University student shot and killed outside her apartment, inside her car while it was moving.
"I said is Rebecca okay?" Lois Fowler, Foley's grandmother, recalled of the phone call from Rebecca's mother. "She said, no ma, she is dead. And I screamed. I've been screaming in my head ever since."
Jennifer Foley says her daughter was fiercely independent but both she and her grandmother, Lois Fowler, like any parent when a child moves away from home, worried bout Rebecca and her move to Savannah.
"On this day, my focus isn't on revenge or crime stopping. My focus is on bringing my child home," Jennifer Foley said.
The Foley family is still waiting for her body to be released from the Chatham County Coroner.
It was one phone call late last year which struck a chord with her mother the most.
"Rebecca called me and told me about one of her friends who was burned up and tied up in the trunk of her car," Jennifer Foley told WTOC, speaking about the murder of Amber DeLoach. "I don't know who is targeting these young people. It's horrible."
Jennifer Foley's sorority sisters at Sigma Chi Nu at Alfred University Class of 1989 have set up a donation site in her honor to help with funeral costs and make a donation in Rebecca's honor.
Her parents wonder if she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a victim of random violence. Was it a car jacking gone wrong? The questions are growing, the answers are not readily available.
24 hours later, a mile away, the circumstances surrounding the death of 17-year-old Evan Colquitt, shot in the chest multiple times Tuesday night outside a home at nearby Sharondale Rd., also lacking in details from Savannah-Chatham Metro Police.
Both are a chilling reminder for businessman and Savannah native O.C. Welch, who is offering a $1,000 reward in each case, on top of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot and killed firefighter Wesley Franklin seven months ago in Sandfly.
The Foley's and Welch say the time to blame is not now, but rather stop the people behind the guns.
"It's easy to point your fingers at the police but police are doing everything they can," Welch said. "They need the community to support them and not tear them down."
"Unfortunately, random violence is what it is," Fowler told WTOC by phone. "It's time for the country to stop losing it's children. We need to get the streets quiet again so we feel safe. Any hot shot picks up a gun and puts a bullet into someone, I don't understand that."
No respect for human life is how they describe it.
Savannah-Chatham Metro Police officials tell WTOC investigators are diligently working both cases, and numerous unsolved cases including Franklin's.
Welch told WTOC Wednesday he knows Colquitt's mother, and regardless of the circumstances, which have not been released to the public, he says the violence in Savannah and young lives lost is too much.
He has pledged $3500 so far in crime rewards for three separate cases.
"Enough is enough and I don't know what it is going to take to put a stop to this but I am committed to do whatever I can to get involved to make the public aware and stop these senseless murders," Welch told WTOC.
Anyone with information on any crimes in Savannah, Crimestoppers offers an anonymous outlet to give information. A minimum $2,500 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest.
Welch has paid for commercials, already airing on TV, and newspapers advertisements promoting Crimestoppers and urging the public to work together. He is also planning a billboard campaign set to launch in the next few days.
The Foley family is on their way to Savannah to bring their daughter's body back home to New York State.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:33 PM EDT2013-06-19 23:33:28 GMT
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