County residents hope new police force cuts down response times - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

County residents hope new police force cuts down response times after Friday morning crime

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CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

The decision to end the merger between the city and county police means people living in the county will be protected by a new police force. Many of them hope that new force means more police presence and quicker response times. Thursday night proved to be the perfect example of why.

Surveillance video showed four or five people hanging out in this neighborhood for at least an hour, pulling door handles and eventually stealing two cars.

A neighbor who called 911 said it took police 15 minutes to get here despite a nearby precinct and the fact it was a crime in progress.

The quiet Whitemarsh Island neighborhood sits just off the busy Johnny Mercer Boulevard. A sign at the front warns trespassers they're being watched.

That still didn't stop a car full of guys from testing the residents anyways. Security cameras from a neighbor caught them in action. You see them checking door handles in every driveway. Adam Harper and his wife watched it all and called 911.

"Ten minutes passes by, we're still waiting so we call again and say 'hey guys, if you want to catch them hurry and get here,’” said Harper.

Police would arrive minutes after his second call. Not before these thieves steal two cars from a couple's driveway.

"I mean when you wake up and look out your door and see 3 strange people trying to get into your car and you got 3 little kids sleeping inside, it's a scary thing,” said Harper.

Inside homes, people like Ron Lusk are hoping this nightmare doesn't become their reality. Neighbors are talking.

"It's getting pretty scary. A lot of the neighbors are asking anybody in the neighborhood who was has the best type of security systems,” said Lusk.

Back outside, they're adding cameras to the front of the neighborhood too. The decision inside city hall to get rid of the police merger Friday means a lot to people living outside of Savannah's city limits.

While the county must make its own decision regarding its police force, people here hope a county police force means safer neighborhoods for them.

"And hopefully with those numbers, it would be quicker response times, something like this when you've got somebody out here for 10-15 minutes committing a crime, you could get here and stop them,” said Harper.

"I think that would be great because we would benefit from the taxes that were paying and we need more support with the police force out there,” said Lusk.

Until then, neighbors will keep looking out for each other—hoping police catch whoever tries something like this next.

To be clear, one of the main reasons behind the Berkshire Study was to figure out ways to cut down response times in the county. In cases like this, it can mean the difference in a quick arrest or a difficult search for suspects.

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