Three shootings have city officials concerned about crime and policing across Savannah. One City Alderman raised those concerns at a City Council workshop this morning. All three shootings this week happened in Alderman Tony Thomas' 6th District. But that's not the only crime-related issue that has Alderman Thomas upset. He's been complaining about alleged under-reporting of crime-- and now the City Manager is looking into the matter.
Alderman Thomas, along with several other Aldermen, started airing concerns about allegations of improper reporting of crime a few weeks ago - right after crime statistics for 2012 were released - showing a decrease in crime. It's something the Alderman questioned. Violent crime is what usually gets the most attention in Savannah - three shootings in three days grabbing headlines across the city. But it's much smaller crimes - property crimes - that Alderman Tony Thomas is trying to draw more attention to...not the crimes themselves, but whether or not they're being properly reported. Alderman Thomas says, "I think that there's enough people that have called in that there is a you know - an issue - but is it being directed? I don't know." The Alderman says he's received a number of complaints from citizens throughout the city about the response to smaller thefts from police. "Predominately the issue that I hear is that there is almost a dissuasion to writing a report - now whether that's complacency, whether that's a directive, whether it's just laziness - I don't think it should be going on in the department and I think that we've got to handle it," says Thomas.
Interim City Manager Stephanie Cutter says the City is doing just that, "That's very serious and if there is an issue out there as it relates to how we report crime - I want to know about it. I need to know about it." To that end - she says she's met with Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett about the matter and has requested that all complaints to city officials regarding police response be forwarded to her. Cutter explains, "We are asking our Office of Professional Standards to investigate the allegations and if we find something or a behavior of an officer that is not proper or outside of standards - then we will seek outside investigation." Cutter says that outside investigation, if needed, would be conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The City Manager says Chief Lovett takes the allegations very seriously. It would be a federal offense to alter police reports and the Chief along with the City are committed to addressing all valid complaints.