Crime Concerns and Street Safety
|Savannah been the subject of
national press following the
botched robbery and shooting of a young woman at 3 am in a downtown
square on Christmas eve of 2005; three men were convicted a year later and
sentenced to life in prison. The white community reacted strongly to the
tragic loss of this young woman. The black community was then
offended at the attention and visibility given to this event as they have
suffered the loss of many of their young people without any similar
outrage and often without the punishment of the perpetrator.
Savannah has a new Chief of Police that is aggressive and creative and not accepting of the current situation.
We have lived in the historic district for 20 years and have been on the streets at many hours of the day and night and have never been the victim of any crime; listed below is what we would do ourselves in downtown Savannah. If you are taking time to read this, you are already at a low risk - because you are thoughtful about what you will be doing.
The historic district is the entertainment district for the city and is very busy until the wee hours of the morning. It is not unusual to see many well dressed local theater goers on Broughton Street in the evening. Many of the people you will see out at night in Savannah are locals; don't hesitate to ask their advice; ask them for specific directions if you are in doubt. Read this list, talk to others in Savannah and then decide for yourself what would be comfortable for you.
What we would do, ranked in priority sequence:
1. We would never become vulnerable by being intoxicated and unaware of our surrounding!
2. We would be back at your lodging by midnight unless we are with a large group.
3. After dark, we would walk only where others are out walking in areas such as Bull Street north of Forsyth Park, Broughton Street, River Street and City Market.
4. We would enjoy Forsyth Park but not after dark.
5. After dark, we would walk with others, preferably groups of more than two; if we were alone we would walk "with a purpose"; if we got uncomfortable we would ask if we can walk with someone else who was out.
6. We keep walking when approached by a street person; Savannah has many homeless shelters so we feel no guilt about not helping a "homeless" person.
7. We would Dial 911 on our cell phone if we got uncomfortable with what we see; we would find a street sign and give them our location.
8. We would look less like a tourist by not wearing a tour bus sticker or waving a map. When we have walked around with a camera over our shoulder taking photos for this web site we are always taken to be being a tourist.
9. We would stay in a hotel in the heart of the historic district - east of Martin Luther King Street - there are several hotels outside of this area but still in the historic area and we might not be comfortable walking there after dark; an exception is Hampton Inn 201 MLK Blvd.
10. If we were threatened we would give up whatever they want without a fight! There are many people living in the historic district and sound carries well there among the brick buildings; we would make a lot of noise.
11. We would park in a City parking garage that has security or on the street near our destination (pay attention to closing hours).
12. We would not leave any belongings visible in our car.
Please let us know if there is anything you learn that we should pass on to others!