SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Leaders of the Savannah Police Department don’t dispute the community is seeing an alarming trend that many other cities around the country are seeing right now, an increase in aggravated assault and homicide cases.
WTOC recently spoke with Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter one-on-one about the departments approach to the problem, and what steps they’re already taking to tackle the issue.
Chief Minter says the violence Savannah is experiencing involves on-going feuds between groups or individuals that too often ends in a shooting.
The latest crime data from SPD shows a 43 case increase of aggravated assaults with a gun from this time last year, and seven more homicides.
Interim City Manager Michael Brown challenged council at this years budget retreat to set aside half a million dollars to start up a type of violence interrupter program to address gun violence.
In tandem with those efforts, Chief Minter said, “Our new investigative impact team has really been focusing in on what we call our prolific, repeat offenders. Individuals that we believe are connected to maybe multiple types of crime. You’ve seen some of the arrests they’ve made recently.”
And Chief Minter said the department is already in talks with an outside organization to help find solutions that have worked elsewhere.
“We’ve already started initial talks with an organization out of Chicago, Cure Violence Global,” said Chief Minter.
Cure Violence Global touts an approach to gun violence that’s produced double-digit decreases in shootings and violent crime in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City according to their website.
Chief Minter said, “We’re going to be moving forward with having them come to Savannah and do an assessment, and see if they believe their program is something that would be successful and beneficial here in Savannah.”
Minter pointed out the department isn’t waiting until new initiatives take hold.
“We’re not waiting for a violence interrupter program or Savannah Impact to come in and really have a significant impact on our crime issues that we’re facing. We realize that the most important, primary thing that we need in our community is a community-based approach. Not just a law enforcement-based approach.”