High murder rate in Savannah Georgia?

Mar 10th, 2001, 03:55 PM
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High murder rate in Savannah Georgia?

On a recent plane trip I struck up a conversation with a gentleman whose Mother lives in Hilton Head. I told him we were going to be visting both Savannah and Charleston for the first time the end of April. He said that he loved both places, Savannah being his favorite but that you have to be very careful about where you walk. He said that Savannah has the second highest murder rate per capita in the U.S. (Washington D.C. being first)
I was really shocked and more then a little alarmed to hear this...any feedback on your experiences and where NOT to go?
Mar 10th, 2001, 05:19 PM
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Savannah, like many cities in the US, has some very 'bad' areas. Drove through a couple of them straying from the main route in off the interstate once...pretty rough looking.
I must say, I'm very much at a loss to understand what it is people love about Savannah. It's tiny, mostly run down, and is memorable only for the small areas of town where the historically significant sites are. I was glad we stopped by as a day trip only.
Charleston was just the opposite, in my opinion, though.
Mar 10th, 2001, 08:40 PM
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I have no experience with a high murder rate in Savannah (thank God), but we visited there several years ago and enjoyed ourselves, although I did not feel the ease that I usually feel in Charleston. There are some very poor sections of town, but there are also some very nice parts as well. If you are visiting, chances are you will do no more than pass through the "iffy" parts. Savannah has the first designated historic district in the US and we enjoyed our time there. It was a tad pungent (understatement - there is a paper mill nearby that gives a certain aroma when the climate is right), but we stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast establishment and were treated like royalty.

We prefer Charleston over Savannah, perhaps because we are more familiar with Charleston, but I do think that you don't have the problem with street people that you may encounter in Savannah. However, I wouldn't hesitate to return.

Mar 11th, 2001, 07:45 AM
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Please do not be alarmed. Savannah is beautiful, you will love it. Besides, he failed to mention that the high murders are among people that KNOW each other or have wronged one another therefore, if you do not
1) owe anyone money
2) know a lot of people with guns in Savannah
3) hook up with someone else's girlfriend or the mother of someone's baby
4) make fun of a high school student
5) and are not shady in general

Rest assured that you should stay quite alive.

This is true for Savannah, Washington D.C, Atlanta, New York, most of America. Would you agree?

Mar 12th, 2001, 05:45 AM
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Savannah had a gang related problem over a decade ago, but the tales linger far after the fact. Initiation rites dictated that a prospective member commit a murder to become accepted. A new mayor focused on the problem and that is a thing of the past.

Still, the historic district has housing projects both on its east and west boundaries that can create problems. South, there is an area that has yet to be redeveloped and is unsafe. I walked and or ran the historic district every day of the 4 years we lived there without incident, but I would not have done it at night and like any city, you learn the boundaries beyond which you don't venture. The boundaries were roughly MLK on the west, Broad St. on the east and Park St. on the south. That's as far as I'd go on foot during the day. Driving east or west I felt perfectly safe, but south of the historic district was "check that you've locked the doors" time. Still the roads leading south out of downtown are heavily traveled by commuters who live south of the city or shoppers headed out to the malls, so really not a serious threat.

After sunset it's wise to stay in the more populated areas of City Market or River St, where most of the restaurants and clubs are located anyway.

As someone else mentioned, use the same precautions you would in any city and you'll be fine.

Oh...the odor Paige mentioned, that's "The Smell of Money" as Savannahites refer to it, that emanates from Union Camp (paper company) a good distance to the west of the city and will occasionally make its presence in town felt when the wind comes from that direction. Fortunately it's not an every day occurence, and when it is present, it's usually for only an hour or so.

Enjoy your trip Toni, it's a beautiful city and with the normal care you'd exercise anywhere, you'll have a wonderful experience.
Mar 12th, 2001, 07:21 PM
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Thanks all for your responses. My hubby is from Appleton Wisconsin so he'll feel right at home with the "aroma" of the mills; We live in L.A. so we are aware of "being attentive" of your surroundings. I'm looking forward to having a wonderful time...
Mar 13th, 2001, 06:02 AM
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Toni - Hubby and I have friends that live in Savannah and they've never mentioned an unusually high murder rate there. As in all cities, big and small, there are "bad" areas" - though crimes can happen at all times of day/night and in "good" areas, as well. Exercise caution and you'll be fine.
Mar 14th, 2001, 01:38 PM
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Savannah does have one of the highest murder rates in the US and that is a fact, not just rumor or tales. Those statistics for 1999 were just released by the DOJ/FBI a few weeks ago (which is probably why you heard about it) so I don't see how a new mayor could have solved that and that it is now a thing of the past from problems a decade ago. The highest murder rates in the US for large cities (in descending order) are: DC, New Orleans, Gary IN, Savannah GA and Baton Rouge LA. I agree that even when murder rates are high, citizens who live in better areas and tourists usually do not have to worry a lot. However, it is still not as safe as cities where the murder rate is lower IMO, as the same things that cause high murder rates (high criminal activity, drugs, low education and economic levels) contribute to crimes of other types. As a matter of fact, Savannah does have very high crime rates, not only in murder, but in other violent and property crimes, they are among the highest cities in the US on all those measures (many southern cities in GA, LA and FL have very high crime rates). On the other hand, their violent and property crime rates are a little lower than those in West Palm Beach and Gainesville FL so if you wouldn't worry about going there, I guess you shouldn't worry about Savannah. Their crime rates are indeed high, though, that is not a myth and anyone who wants to know more can see the Crime Statistics Reports published by the DOJ/FBI, as they are the ones who report these data.
Mar 14th, 2001, 02:00 PM
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There's a high murder rate in New Orleans but that doesn't stop people from going there...stay out of the bad areas...
Mar 14th, 2001, 02:32 PM
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Christina, you misunderstood my post. Over a decade ago Savannah had a serious problem with murder--murders occurring in the same areas frequented by the tourists. It was big news. A new mayor *at that time* (not now) addressed that issue and it was corrected, at least through the time we lived there. We have been gone for 4 years, however, and if something has turned around in the interim, and been reported in the past few weeks, I am not aware of it. I believed Toni was referring to the infamous problem that existed earlier. Mea culpa, and I apologize for my error. Perhaps my info on the city is too old now, to be of use. I'm curious about those statistics though...1999 is just coming out now?

I absolutely would not want to mislead anyone about the city. There *is* crime which is why I gave boundaries within which you should stay...and where you should not be after dark! Obviously this is true of any city.

Prior to moving to Savannah, I was advised that the entire area was perfectly safe by someone whose husband happened to work for the C of C! I run for exercise so shortly after arriving, I took off on foot from downtown where I lived, down to Ardsley Park, a neighborhood about 5 miles to the south I wanted to see. As it turned out, 8 miles of that route (4 each way) were through one of the worst areas (the "check that your doors are locked" area mentioned above), and it was only after I was well into it that I was certain I'd made a serious mistake! This run was far longer than my normal run, but believe me, my surroundings as I headed back kept those feet moving at a good clip. Good way to train for a marathon! gt; Anyway, having been there, I would not intentionally mislead and make light of a serious situation just for the sake of maintaining the city's good image!

I would like to see more of the statistics..is there a website for DOJ/FBI?
Mar 14th, 2001, 02:42 PM
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Yes, there is website, OO, which you cvan link to from the White House site, but I had a problem an hour ago locating the stats she references ... and they provide stuff for me all the time, and I do know their databases. The reason why it's 1999 now is the Federal agencies collect data from thousands of police departments, and the information comes in in dribs and drabs, and must be cleaned up, and rates calculated against population estimates (current ones if the data are to make any sense, of course), and all of this takes beaucoup time to finalize ... our traffic fatality and fatality rate databases (akin to what she has described) operate the same way. We will not complete 2000 stats and publish before late June, a bit ahead of DOJ. NHTSA.DOT.GOV. If I am successful locating the ratings she presents, will let you know. It had been my impression that DC, once at the top of the homicide rate list for large urban areas, had mercifully declined a bit. I do hope she is incorrect, and that we are not once again scaring away the tourists. Ciao
Jun 7th, 2001, 07:52 PM
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Hi i wish people wouldnt badtalk savannah. I have lived here all of my life and i feel safe much of the time. Its not the tourists that are being killed its people fighting over guns, drugs, being in gangs, and people who are getting back at people for doing them wrong. Savannah is one of the best places in the world too me and i wouldnt leave it.

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