Call for Action at Savannah Crime Meeting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/04/06

Call for Action at Savannah Crime Meeting

A community meeting at the Desoto Hilton called Take Back Savannah. A community meeting at the Desoto Hilton called Take Back Savannah.

Crime's the hottest topic in Savannah these days, and more than 250 people proved the point last night. They all showed up for a community meeting at the Desoto Hilton called Take Back Savannah to talk to elected officials about making the city safer.

A lot of people say the crime rate's gotten too high, and if cities like New York and Chicago can handle it, there's no reason Savannah can't too.

The catalyst for Tuesday's Take Back Savannah meeting was a few high-profile--and out-of-the-ordinary--murders in Savannah, that weren't the typical crime-on-crime shootings.

"Citizens of Savannah have got to make it clear to elected officials that the status quo is unacceptable, and that they want change," said Rolf Glover, who's on the mayor's crime task force.

Some people, including Mayor Otis Johnson, say input from the community is great, but crime is nothing new and last night's meeting wasn't pointing out anything they hadn't already been working on.

"We're not going to act as if nothing has been done until these groups emerge," said Johnson. "That would be disrespectful to the people who use their time and their talents to put together what we think is a good plan."

That plan is a series of suggestions that came out of a year-long study by the mayor's task force. Some of those suggestions have been implemented, some are down the road.

As Willie Lovett, interim chief of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, said, "The problem we have didn't happen overnight and we're not going to solve it overnight, but we certainly are going to try."

A lot of people Tuesday night said they want to see more action from city hall in implementing those suggestions sooner.

No decisions were being made last night. The meeting was just a town hall type of forum for people to talk to each other and get ideas out in the open.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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