Garden City seeing uptick in gun violence

Crime & Safety

GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WSAV) – Garden City leaders are continuing an ongoing effort to curb crime in the city. So far this year, city leaders tell News 3 that police have responded to 27 shootings.

Police say they started seeing an increase in gun violence in March. Four people have died so far. Garden City didn’t see any homicides in 2018 or 2019. Now city leaders want help from the community to report any crime they see.

“It’s a trend we’d like to see stop immediately,” Garden City Chief of Police, Gilbert Ballard said.

The latest homicide happened at the Copacabana Sports Bar. A suspect in the night club murder has been identified and warrants are pending. Two other murder suspects have been arrested. The murder of Ronald Singleton is still under investigation, as no suspects have been identified at this time.  

“So we’re aggressively increasing our patrols and filling our gaps to make sure particular areas receive full coverage,” Ballard said.

Garden City Councilman Rick Lassiter organized a “Protect and Serve” car parade on Sunday hoping to get community members attention.

“What we’re trying to get out of this is to bring more awareness to the community as we can start policing our own community more. You see something, say something. Most will say it’s snitching until it’s at their front door,” Lassiter said.

City leaders say most of the crime can be pinpointed to the Rossignol Hill area. Lassiter said the 17 of the 27 shootings happened there that’s why he’s proposing new surveillance cameras for the area and throughout the city.

“Throughout the community cars ride in, ride out, commit the crime, and ride out. No one knows anything or no one sees anything so those surveillance cameras will help,” Lassiter said.

The cameras would make it easier on police as well.

“The police can’t do everything and it’s not primarily our job to stop it because there are things that we can’t control.”

Chief Ballard said it’s something they can’t control because they’re not there when the incident first takes place. He said there are a number of issues that could be sparking this increase in crime from poverty and COVID-19 frustrations. Where the suspects are getting these guns is another concern.

“I think people that don’t respect the fact and the right that they have a gun to not properly secure it frankly angers me. Because if you buy a gun and you own a gun why would you leave it unlocked in your vehicle for someone to steal it,” Ballard said.

“If we create and incorporate different kinds of programs to get the kids off the streets those are just some of the ideas that I have,” Lassiter said.

Police say if you have any information on crime in the area to call CrimeStoppers at 912-234-2020 or call the Garden City tip line at 912-966-7787.

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