Savannah-Chatham Metro Police released a remarkable statement Saturday afternoon in response to the recent uptick in armed robberies and homicides. Following is the full statement:
"The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department and Chief of Police Joseph H. Lumpkin, Sr. have made public pleas to the community three times in the past month (August 22, 2016, September 6, 2016 and September 23, 2016) addressing robberies, shootings and homicides as well as asking those with information to step forward and help put these violent offenders behind bars where they cannot continue to hurt people.
"In August Chief Lumpkin offered with the support of the Mayor and Council a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a perpetrator in any open homicide investigation. As we all know, the overwhelming majority of victims are African Americans and that $10,000 is being offered to solve those cases, and all homicides, to provide justice for the victims and their families.
"Earlier this month after six African-American men were shot over the Labor Day holiday weekend Chief Lumpkin and the Violent Crimes Unit detectives addressed the public.
"Homicide detective sergeant Hiram Rivera said, 'I am proud to stand next to these men and women who are relentlessly pursuing justice for the victims of violence within our community. There are more good guys than bad guys. Please help us get these violent, gun-carrying criminals off the street. We have too many people who are being shot and too many people are being killed.'
"Men and women of the SCMPD are on the front lines in all of our neighborhoods attempting to prevent violence and secure justice for all victims.
"On Friday, the Chief again asked the public for information that will help lock up the group and gang members who are robbing people at gun point: in front of their homes, on sidewalks, leaving restaurants and bars or walking home after work. This week's goal of requesting the Georgia State Patrol to add additional areas of patrols in Savannah-Chatham is to put a larger police presence on streets where the vast majority of street robberies and - recently, street shootings involving robberies - have occurred. That area of concern is larger than the Historic District. The SCMPD does not determine police services along racial or economic lines. The SCMPD's goal is to prevent more people from getting hurt or killed.
"While it is true that a vast majority of our overall shootings are the result of risky behavior; certainly this is not true for all shootings victims. Chief Lumpkin has said that publicly numerous times. He has also said that a family member who is group or gang involved may raise the risk to other family members by 900%! But the SCMPD does not blame victims!
"In the past two years we have had men, women and children of all races gunned down senselessly. None of our homicide victims deserved to die. However, those responsible for the murders deserve to be brought to justice.
The shooting and violence has to stop – period."