Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police arrested 24 suspects in their third Total Focus operation of the year this weekend in a continuing effort to lower crime.
More than 60 officers from SCMPD Patrol, Crime Suppression Units, K9, Aviation and SWAT, joined by Officers from the Savannah Impact Program, Probation and Parole, Federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Chatham County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted rolling saturations of various areas.
The effort led to 11 felony arrests, 13 misdemeanor arrests, 61 field interviews, 123 traffic citations, 23 home visits to Savannah Impact Program clients, 56 Probation and Parole contacts, 12 Department of Juvenile Justice curfew checks and the recovery of two firearms, a stolen vehicle, items stolen in burglaries, and drugs.
On both nights, the operation evolved into street support for the downtown area that experienced unusual crowds associated with pre-St. Patrick’s Day Festival activities.
The saturation efforts are balanced by daytime visits to neighborhoods to greet residents and build rapport, removal of tennis shoes from power lines which are associated with drug sales, and building neighborhood watch groups in areas that have none.
“We’ll keep doing this as long and as often as we can,” Chief Willie Lovett said. “It uses a lot of resources but has a tremendous effect on crime in the area and establishing relationships with residents that helps them feel safer in their neighborhoods.”
This weekend’s operation was preceded by a smaller venture on the 200 block of West 39th Street by Central Precinct Crime Suppression Units supported by SWAT, K9, ATF and Sheriff’s deputies as well as weapons, juvenile and Crime Prevention Officers.
The 39th Street operation followed up on requests from residents to both SCMPD and City Hall to address drug sales in the neighborhood. SWAT officers served a search warrant on a house there that yielded four felony and two misdemeanor drug possession arrests as well as the recovery of illegal drugs.
Undercover Officers on Friday night located a stolen Chrysler 300 that was used to commit burglaries parked in the 2100 block of N. Fernwood Drive. Officers waited until a suspect approached the car and began a foot pursuit when he ran. Canine officer Flash ended the pursuit.
Police found keys to the stolen car on the suspect and a second suspect in the house he had left who was charged with possession of marijuana. Items stolen in recent burglaries were found in the car and in the residence of one of the suspects.
Larry D. Cope was charged with theft by receiving stolen property (auto), Antoinio Clark was charged with being party to the crime of theft by receiving stolen property (auto), and the investigation continues into the theft and burglaries.
Later Friday night a saturation of the area around West Lake Apartments in West Chatham precinct led to the arrest of a suspect on possession of marijuana charges. The suspect resisted arrest and one officer was treated for an injury to his face.
On Saturday, Southside officers recovered three televisions and a watch stolen in burglaries on Talina Circle. Later, officers stopped a suspicious vehicle on the 1200 block of East 56th Street and arrested the driver for misdemeanor drug charges. They found more than $1,700 in cash and equipment believed to have been used in the transportation of drugs in the back of the car.