New SPD housing will prevent crime, improve community policing, officers say

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah Police Department and residents say parts of the city’s second district are a hot-spot for violent crime. But another addition to the department’s brand-new Central Precinct may be part of the solution.

“I’m glad they decided to put this station in this area,” said Earl Coleman, a nearby maintenance worker. “We really need it.”

At the end of the week, a caretakers’ cottage will house two Savannah Police officers who will both work at the Central Precinct.

Renovations on the home started in May. The city says construction costs $600,000 in SPLOST dollars.

Residents nearby say the price tag is a bit high, but city officials say they were required to replace all deteriorated wooden structures, repair the foundation, put in new windows, put in new plumbing, put in a new HVAC system and install a new roof, among other things.

“I think it’s really exciting that we had the opportunity to do it. Most of the projects we do are new construction,” said Carol Moon, the city’s project manager.

According to the city, the home was originally built 120 years ago when Judge Peter Meldrim built 100 similar homes for African American workers. The neighborhood was known as Meldrim Row.

The property was included in the city’s purchase of the new central precinct.

The two officers are required to take care of the surrounding property but can live inside the home at a reduced price.

“We pushed for having this as a caretakers’ cottage,” said Savannah Police Major Robert Gavin. “It’s for officers who are transitioning here in the city, new officers and ones that can use the help financially.”

Police say community policing will also improve. If officers live in the neighborhood, they become an invested stakeholder and, more importantly, a trusted neighbor.

“Having those officers here — they form those relationships and they build those community relations that I think will last a long time,” said Major Gavin.

“It’s a great community, it just [has] some crimes that’s going on,” said Coleman. “I believe that this station and the visibility of police will cut some of the crime that is going on.”

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