Savannah- Chatham Metropolitan Police, challenged by Police Chief Willie Lovett to reduce violent crimes by 5 percent and overall crime by 10 percent, overwhelmingly surpassed those goals while significantly increasing arrests in 2010.
In Lovett’s first full year as chief, the total number of crimes decreased by 15% and violent crimes decreased by 25%. Every category was below last year: homicides down 33%; rapes decreased by 30%; robberies down by 29%; aggravated assaults by 17%; burglaries by 4%; thefts by 12%; and auto thefts down 45%.
Overall, the 10,047 crimes reported were the fewest of any year since the 1970s. Following the trend, the number of homicides fell to the lowest number since the 1970s – 17 in the City of Savannah and three in the unincorporated county. Another case was ruled justifiable homicide by a grand jury review.
Eleven cases were cleared by arrest. During the year, the department also cleared six homicide cases from 2009.
At the same time, SCMPD recorded 56 more arrests despite investigating 1,700 fewer crimes.
Chief Lovett credits the performance to a myriad of adjustments made to the overall operations of the department .
“I believe our success last year was the result of good police work by essentially everyone in the department,” states Lovett. “Basic police work, done well, can have a dramatic effect. I see beat officers taking extra initiative to question people who are acting in a suspicious manner. I see detectives who toil endlessly to solve cases and make arrests. I see supervisors organizing these efforts. And I see Precinct Commanders who are truly leading.”