SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – After two weekends of gun violence within 4 week span, resulting in at least two fatalities and multiple injuries, Mayor Van Johnson said at his Tuesday press briefing the crime is “not unexpected.”
“Something about the heat, and something about the people out on the streets engaging in the streets, younger people in the streets,” says Johnson.
Audrey Cauley lives in this neighborhood on Kenneth Dunham St., where one person was shot and injured on Sunday, Aug. 13.
She has lived there for 5 years and says she believes gang violence is a problem, and a reason for the uptick in crime, and that she is often afraid to talk to police about it.
“There’s nowhere where you can go for them not to know that you’re talking, because everybody out here, the majority of them are in gang,” says Cauley.
She also tells News 3 that she has had to send her children away for their safety.
“If they see me talking to the police, they are either going to try to jump on my kids and do stuff like that, and it ain’t been like one or two…one day it was 17,” she says.
When News 3 asked Mayor Johnson about this directly, he says it cannot explicitly be defined as gang violence.
“We do not have a gang problem. We have an issue with young people in that community. They don’t necessarily fit the definition of what we have as established gangs, but we have some in this community,” says Johnson.
Though three months ago, L.t. Colonel Bill Hutchins, Deputy Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Public Safety says a lot of crime in Savannah is gang-related.
“The root of most of the violent crime in our state, you see it right here in Savannah is crime that is gang-related, and it had been here for a while,” says Hutchins.
Cauley is also standing firm in what she believes to be true.
“It’s here. It’s out here. It is, and they know it, they do know about it,” she says.
Mayor Johnson also told News 3 that something does need to be done about young people committing crimes.
“We need to make sure we’re enforcing the laws that exist and also engaging with their parents to make sure they’re not doing bad things,” says Johnson.