Are anti-violence rallies having any effect? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Are anti-violence rallies having any effect?

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

There has been an anti-violence rally and march in Savannah nearly every night this week.

But are they really making a difference?

According to local police, it's about time. 

This is the kind of community engagement the city needed for years. And while these street rallies have been getting a lot of attention, it's still those who are staying silent that police are needing to be the loudest. 

"They're the ones there nine out of ten times before the police arrive on scene. They're the ones actually witnessing the crime occur, not the police officers. If the police officers were witnessing the crime, they would do something about it. And so we rely on the community to assist us in providing us with the information we need to make these cases,” said Assistant Police Chief Julie Tolbert, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department.

Usually, that kind of community participation is hard to come by, but this action appears to be spreading.

According to CrimeStoppers, they have seen an up-tick in the number of tips they've received, already leading to several arrests.

"It's going to take more than just marches and rallies to bring violence under control. It's going to take true action, and that action comes in the form of individuals helping the police by providing the information that we need to go after the individuals responsible,” said Tolbert.

But to be fair, some of these rallies have been focused on getting more witnesses to speak up.

One man, who's been to a couple of these rallies, said one change they've brought about is the impact on kids.

“You've got more youngsters coming out, which is a good thing. Instead of just the parents coming by themselves, they're bringing the kids. Because until we reach the kids - we already know the kids are the future - so if we don't reach the kids, we don't have no future to look forward to,” said Wille Hall, rally attendee.

And it doesn't matter if you live in a crime-prone area or not, you can still be a part of the solution.

The assistant chief says if the crime isn't in your neighborhood now, it could be on the way.

"And so you need to take notice of what's going on and anytime you hear information that you can share with the police department, then you need to do so,” said Tolbert.

Assistant Chief Tolbert also mentioned that aggravated assaults and gun violence has gone up in the past few years, and that this community reaction is a sign that people have simply had enough.

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