Chatham Co. Police give 2021 year-end crime stats

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 4:24 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Commissioners got a good look at year-end crime stats from Chatham County Police Friday morning. Chief Jeff Hadley revealed overall crime was up compared to 2020.

But, the department isn’t necessarily using 2020 as a benchmark, and instead looking at years before that for crime comparisons.

Chief Hadley noted they see 2020 as an anomaly, with a lot of folks staying home because of COVID.

So, Chief Hadley also showed commissioners crime stats from 2019, a year where total crime was actually four percent higher than last year. 2021 saw spikes in commercial burglaries, mail and package thefts and road rage incidents involving guns in the unincorporated county.

Violent crime incidents also increased in 2021, primarily driven up by aggravated assaults. Another issue Chief Hadley pointed out another issue his department continues to battle, and that’s guns being stolen out of vehicles that are in most cases unlocked. 73 guns were stolen out of vehicles last year.

That had one commissioner asking about ways to help break people of the habit of leaving guns in unlocked cars at the meeting.

“I wonder, could we potentially enforce a fee or something like that, so whenever we’re returning, give back to them, an administrative fee or something like that, for that return? Maybe to on a policy level try and create some negative reinforcement for leaving your car unlocked with a gun in it,” said District 6 Commissioner Aaron Whitely.

County Manager Lee Smith said he would pose that question to the county attorney to see if that could be a possibility.

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