SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter broke down last year’s crime numbers for Savannah City Council members on Wednesday.
Homicides and the total number of violent crimes are down, but Chief Minter pointed out there are still some problem areas. He hopes initiatives will help nurture relationships with the community.
What really raised eyebrows was one of the first slides with relation to the productivity of the department’s Violent Crimes Task Force. With the exception of traffic citations and field interviews, the numbers the Task Force produced in every other category like felony and misdemeanor arrests the first month of this year matched last year’s totals.
“In the past, what we’ve done is put together a group of individuals and sent them out as kind of a reactive posture into areas. Now, we’ve taken more of a proactive approach,” Chief Minter said.
Chief Minter says their new tactics to produce bigger results include breaking the Task Force into smaller groups, spreading them out throughout the jurisdiction, and maintaining coverage 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
“So they’re out there now. They’re being a lot more proactive than they are reactive, and as you can see from the totals in the numbers that they have right now, they really are making a difference out there in the community," the chief said.
Council members made a point to clarify it is new tactics - not an increase in violent activity - that’s contributing to the results.
The department is seeing 35 vacancies currently, and staffing is something the chief says they, like many agencies state-wide, continue to prioritize.
“We realize we’re no different from a lot of other agencies, and the challenges that we’re facing to remain fully staffed. If you look at the sheriff’s office, they’re down about 80 positions, Georgia State Patrol is down about 100 positions, and we’re looking at our staffing on a daily basis to see what we can continue to do to continue to maintain a healthy staffing level.”
Click here to see the full presentation.