No shootings in over 30 days in Savannah’s City Market

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 11:19 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah had a month of no shootings in City Market. It follows back-to-back shootings two weekends in a row.

A double and triple shooting just two weekends a part last month in City Market had people and businesses fearing for their safety.

Jeff Brochu, owner of a pedicab business in City Market, said he’s been driving customers around when people started shooting.

“We hear the gun shots and we think, ‘nope,’ we’re going the other direction.”

Since then, City Market property owners and the Savannah Police Department have made attempts to address it.

“Small incidents resulted in someone pulling out a weapon, incidents of people bumping into each other as small as that turned into someone running and firing,” said Savannah Police Assistant Chief Robert Gavin.

There’s already an SPD substation there, but now they have flood lights up in the squares and Assistant Chief Gavin said they’ve been eliminating late night cruising in the area, moving people out of the squares when the bars close and having off-duty officers wear brighter vests.

He said: “We had to look at when they were happening, why they were happening and no matter what you do you’re not going to stop someone from making a bad decision.”

Assistant Chief Gavin said they have noticed a difference with no shootings in the past month after at least four in City Market this year. For Brochu, who’s been in business for nine years, the violence was enough to make him to change his hours.

“I used to work until 3:00 a.m. on a regular basis. I now take a look at what I think is happening at 11:30 p.m or 12 a.m and there are times if I feel or sense of tension in the air...I go home.”

He said the flood lights were needed a long time ago.

“Franklin Square - it used to be an area I didn’t want to go by in my pedicab. It felt dangerous and seemed dangerous. With the lights, all that’s gone,” said Brochu.

To him, the age restriction put in place by City Market for people under 21 after 11 p.m. isn’t as effective, but he does feel like there’s been slow, positive progress.

“It feels like more of a family gathering area rather than post midnight debauchery.”

As a reminder, City Market is privately owned so they make the rules. We’ve reached out to them multiple times for comment and have not received a response.

SPD said they maintain a partnership with City Market, the City of Savannah and business owners to keep the area safe.

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