Homicides, violent crimes on rise in Savannah; a look at the numbers

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:42 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:53 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Johnson’s critics point to an increase in violence in Savannah and say he’s not doing enough to keep Savannah safe.

WTOC received data from the Savannah Police Department.

In 2019, the year before Mayor Johnson took-over - SPD recorded 20 homicides in the city. That number jumped to 26 his first year in office then up to 29 last year.

And, we’re on-pace to hit or pass that number again this year with 25 homicides already through October.

Here’s a look at violent crime as a whole that includes things like robberies, rapes and assaults.

The numbers stayed the same in 2020 and went down in 2021.

But so far this year, they’re up significantly from 920 total violent crimes, to more than 1,000.

And again, that’s with two months left in the year.

WTOC wanted to hear what advocates working to stop gun violence think about what’s going on in Savannah.

Olga Williams lost her stepson, 17-year-old Dominique Williams, to gun violence in 20-15.

A 15-year-old murdered him.

She’s now Georgia’s community outreach leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“It is a state of emergency. We are in a disastrous place to me. Gun violence is real, it is real. When you take somebody’s life, they’re not coming back. So I feel we are in a state of emergency,” Williams said.

But Williams says she doesn’t blame the mayor or any politician for gun violence.

She says it’s up to parents and the community to come-together, and put an end to it.

But she did say she thinks harsher punishments against violent offenders, could go a long way.

“If I feel like I can do a crime, and I’m going to get off from doing it, and my heart isn’t right... then I’m gonna do the crime. Maybe that’s how people are thinking. Maybe if there were tougher penalties for someone who killed somebody, then yes! You may think again before you pull that trigger,” Williams said.

Back in August, under Mayor Johnson’s leadership, the city council voted to hire a federal prosecutor to crack down on repeat offenders and ultimately, cut-down crime in the city.

Savannah Mayor Johnson says they have a candidate and are ready to make them an offer.

He says he hopes they will start up in the next 30 days.