SCMPD Releases '05 Crime Numbers, Talks '06 Crime Fighting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/20/06

SCMPD Releases '05 Crime Numbers, Talks '06 Crime Fighting

Interim Chief Willie Lovett Interim Chief Willie Lovett

Savannah-Chatham County's crime numbers are in for 2005. They show crime is on the rise, but not by much. Last year, just over 13,100 crimes were reported. That's about 500 more than in 2004.

Interim Chief Willie Lovett says he thinks that's due to more people reporting crimes and an increase in drug-related crimes.

The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department has taken a lot heat in the past year to do more to reduce crime. Today, we sat down with Chief Lovett to talk about his plans for 2006.

His plan? Good old-fashioned police work. He's putting more officers in hard-hit crime areas and trying some new--some say radical--approaches to keep bad guys off our streets.

He's determined to get Savannah's crime problem under control. "We feel we have something to prove and that's going to be our focus," he told us.

His plans aren't fancy, but he says they get at the heart of the crime problem. And the juvenile crime problem. Here's what he wants to do:

1. Start a daytime curfew. "Sixteen-year-olds can legally drop out of school, but with the daytime curfew, just because you are 16 that doesn't give you the right to be on the street," Chief Lovett said.

2. Improve the relationship with people who live in public housing. Chief Lovett says much of Savannah's public housing has become a safe haven for criminals and troublemakers, and many of those people don't even live there. Lovett's plan: if you don't live here, you can't hang out here.

3. Get illegal guns off the street.

4. Let police do their jobs. "I've come to realize some people are going to raise hell regardless," Chief Lovett said. "I would rather them raise hell at the police department for doing their job than for not doing their job. If that means getting in someone's face, that's what we are going to do."

This is the first time Lovett has talked publicly about starting a daytime curfew. He still has to get the school board's and the city's approval before he can start enforcing it.

And for more information about last years crime numbers are available online; click here for the full report.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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