Comprehensive Program to Combat Violent Crime: the Savannah Experience

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Police Chief


The city conducted an extensive analysis of the geographic distribution of crime and the factors believed to be related to it. Using spot mapping, the study revealed a significant association between crime and violence and conditions of substandard and dilapidated housing, fires, unmaintained properties, derelict vehicles, sewer and drainage problems, unemployment, female-headed households, child abuse, child neglect, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and juvenile delinquent residence. The study also revealed six major problems with existing police practices: lack of geographic accountability, unequal distribution of patrol time, need for better police-citizen interactions, need for more proactive patrol, inadequate police response, and deficient data management. The city designed an "umbrella" strategy to develop collaborative relationships among agencies in the public and private sectors. Strategies were developed to address socioeconomic issues, environmental issues, drug law enforcement, and policing innovation. The effort's two major components are to remove violent and other serious offenders from the streets and to coordinate public and private efforts to prevent crime by improving the conditions that promote it. The city expects its successes to outnumber its failures as the effort continues.