SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Crime continues to have a presence in the Hostess City.
“Savannah is as safe as it can be,” Mayor Van Johnson said at his weekly press conference on Wednesday. Johnson said he recently met with more than a dozen mayors to discuss crime and said he heard horror stories regarding crime in other cities.
Johnson claims the city is doing everything it can to prevent violent crime, but essentially laid blame on the recent constitutional gun carry law passed by Gov. Brian Kemp. Kemp signed it into law on April 12, allowing residents to carry handguns in public without a license or background check.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be able to see, now people have guns unchecked, so we don’t know who has guns,” Johnson said. Johnson said with the introduction of this law, police cannot predict who is and isn’t carrying a gun. So, anyone could be a potential shooter.
In the past nine days, WSAV has reported that four people have been shot dead and seven others were injured in Savannah. However, Johnson said a vast majority of the shootings stem from arguments between parties and not random acts of violence.
“Savannah is not besieged with crime. That’s not true,” Johnson said. “Savannah does not have blood flowing through its streets.” Johnson also said most people visiting Savannah have a safe and enjoyable time and he doesn’t want the narrative to be that Savannah is a crime-ridden city.
The mayor discussed several steps taken to prevent gun violence and shine a light on it, literally.
The mayor mentioned the additional flood lights in City Market, that shine brighter as the night gets darker. The Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement is also in place to respond to violent situations and deescalate them.
The city also enacted an age restriction on City Market, banning those under the age of 21 from the area past 11 p.m. The city has implemented a gun buy-back program to remove more guns from the streets.
And finally, Johnson also called on residents to help prevent violent crime.
“We all have a responsibility to help keep people safe. The notion that police do it alone is outdated and is certainly not true,” Johnson said.
Watch the full press conference below.