Community meeting held with police after young girl raped in Car - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Community meeting held with police after young girl raped in Carver Heights

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

From Homeland Security to homeowners in Savannah, the message is the same. If you see something, say something.

That’s the message to Carver Heights residents after a young girl is kidnapped and raped.

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police is hosting a community meeting at the Carver Heights Community Center to dispel rumors and discuss safety.

This is a meeting pulling in not only folks from the surrounding neighborhood but from other areas of Savannah. All looking to hear from police about safety concerns and what they can do to be more involved with crime prevention.

What I'm hearing so far, is the concerns focus solely on the safety of the children in the neighborhood.  Following the kidnapping and sexual assault this week, a lot of folks here have questions about vacant properties where predators can hide.

A community leader says more than 50 derelict properties have been identified in Carver Village and leaders here in the historic neighborhood hope for not only an aesthetic change to vacant properties but also a change in philosophy from residents.

"Starting this morning, what we had this morning, was we had this morning was we had retired folks in the neighborhood who are home during the times the children were catching the bus to school and after school, we are riding the neighborhood to make sure that they are in. We are asking parents who can stand at the bus stops to make sure that every child goes home with an adult, under an adult’s attention. And we're just asking the neighborhood to get involved in watching over our children,” said Rev. Chester A. Ellis.

Carver Village will be getting national recognition in the next week or so as a historic neighborhood, and Rev. Ellis says that should give them the push to get the neighborhood cleaned up.

There was the talk of a neighborhood watch among the retired residents, and even some talking about altering their schedules and routines just so they can keep an eye on children as they make their way to and from the bus stops. And that's the kind of thing police say might keep child predators out there from striking again.

"If they see your presence there, just your mere presence that could be a deterrent and prevent them from trying to snatch a child. Now we are going to do everything that we can do to try to prevent something like that from occurring,” said SCMPD Assistant Chief Julie Tolbert.

It seemed everyone left with a better understanding of what their role can and will be when it comes to proactively protecting their community. And they'll also be keeping a close eye out for the suspect in this week’s kidnapping and sexual assault.

Copyright 2016 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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