Savannah and crime seem to
be a recurring connected theme these days for residents around town.
Savannah city council had
the discussion with Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett Thursday.
First, Lovett highlighted
the successes his precinct commanders have had this summer, from Roll Call in
the Streets to Project Cease Fire, with 93 cases since last year presented to
federal prosecutors. However, violence and shootings plaguing city streets is
what the presentation eventually circled back around to.
The chief covered a lot of
ground in an hour and a half, from police bike patrols, Lock It or Lose It on
auto theft prevention, crackdowns on graffiti, All Hands on Deck and other
initiatives for crime prevention.
Lovett says using youth
summer camps to prevent crime has been key but it was juveniles, and their
reaction to recent crime, which drew alderman Johnson to ask a question about
what he called the desensitization of violence after recent shootings,
specifically last week on Gwinnett Street near where he held a meeting and he
saw the stone cold reaction of two young boys.
"That is going to take
an effort because they have become desensitized and that is not something we
can cure overnight," Chief Lovett said.
"The elephant in the
room is we are not talking about, in every statistical category,
African-American males. A relatively small segment of our county
population has explosive statistics and I think we have to start looking at if
we solve that issue we solve our crime problem," Johnson told WTOC.
The chief says he's always
looking at those issues.
Johnson says he hopes to
brainstorm with community leaders for some answers and solutions as well.