Feiler Park neighborhood meeting discusses recent crime trend

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Total crime numbers are down in Savannah from this time last year, but for some neighborhoods - especially those recently hit by violent crime - that's not a comfort.

Community involvement and interest are up in the Feiler Park neighborhood. People hoping for a quick and effective solution.

The solution, however, is not cut and dry. Perception of crime also plays into how a neighborhood feels.

[Below is a map provided by the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department of all the "shots fired" calls that have been responded to between Jan. 1, 2017 and Feb. 15, 2017:]

Tuesday night was the first neighborhood meeting in Feiler Park since two shootings, one of those fatal, happened blocks apart off Montgomery Street. Inside the community center, there was plenty of talk about police presence, safety and civic responsibility.

"When you think about the possibility of retaliation, I understand that no one wants to lose their life or be maimed for life. But we can't let criminals take over our neighborhood and our city," said Feiler Park Neighborhood Association President Betty Jones.

The elected official for the district, Alderwoman Estella Shabazz, says police visibility is a big part of cutting crime down, adding police patrols are lacking for neighborhoods in her district like Feiler Park.

"Crime exists and continues when people think that no one is looking and no one is paying attention," 5th District Alderwoman Shabazz.

Parks like Hitch Park, near the scene of last Sunday's homicide, are another issue for residents who say criminal activity has become bad enough in those public spaces that they avoid them altogether.

Alderwoman Shabazz says she's still pushing for better lighting in those areas.

Another focus of Tuesday's discussion was reaching the youth of Savannah, especially with the school year coming to an end.

"We've got to come up with a more structured and defined solution to help these young kids. (More than just…) Just talk. The rhetoric has to stop," said Joseph Hymes, a Savannah resident.

When it comes to patrols, the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police sergeant speaking to the group Tuesday night says precinct leaders are considering bike patrols. But for now, the officers must patrol out of their cars for mobility with the call volume they receive.

SCMPD released a detailed report of crime happening both this year and last year in the Feiler Park and Dittmerville neighborhoods.

From the railroad tracks over to Montgomery Street. And from West 52nd Street down to Staley Avenue. It includes a number of homes and businesses as well as the fairgrounds.

From April 9 to May 9 in 2016, there were eight reported incidents in Feiler Park. In 2017, the number is six. For Dittmerville, there were two reported incidents in 2016. This year it's up to 11, and that includes a shooting and a homicide.

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