One of the Savannah City Council's six policy priority areas in the approved 2021 budget is reducing violent crime, including homicides and gun offenses. The council approved a $4 million increase to the Savannah Police Department budget for 2021, making the total budget $66 million, despite the city's overall budget decreasing from $425 to $414 million.
The increase allows for additional funding to patrol, investigations, training and recruitment, technology and vehicles.
One program the department has already implemented to help promote effective interventions is the Behavioral Health Unit.
The pre-arrest diversion program helps keep first-time offenders committing minor misdemeanor crimes from entering the criminal justice system and find other solutions to deal with the issues presented.
It also includes funds to re-establish the Savannah Impact Program and create a Violence Interrupter Program for street-level conflict mediators.
As part of the additional funding, the department is communicating with Cure Violence Global from Chicago to discuss its approach to gun violence that has produced double-digit decreases in violent crime in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City.
You can find additional details and information about the 2021 budget at savannahga.gov/budget.