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Give it up for the new year
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Several armed robberies augured in the new year. On January 4, about 9:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to 11975 Apache Avenue to the Dollar General. Employees told police two armed suspects entered the store and came into the breakroom.

The suspects demanded money and made employees take them to the registers. The suspects were both black males, wearing black hoodies, blue jeans and both had a shirt covering the lower part of their faces.

One suspect referred to the other as “li’l Bro” several times. They fled and ran toward Abercorn Street with an undisclosed amount of money.

A black man with a medium build with a red hat and a black ski mask robbed the Southside Checkers on the 11700 block of Abercorn about 5 a.m. Jan. 7. He walked up to the drive-in window while a customer was ordering, produced a gun and mumbled something to the clerk. The customer drove away while the clerk closed the window and dove under the counter. The gunman opened the window, took money from the counter and ran away.

On Jan. 8, just before 10 p.m., Little Caesars at the 1900 Block of East Victory Drive was robbed. Employees told officers a man came into the store carrying a handgun. The suspect was a black male 6’0”, 160 lbs, wearing a white shirt over his face, a black baseball cap, black jacket, white shirt, tennis shoes, and a white glove on his left hand. The employee did as he was told and the suspect left the store and fled the area on foot.

A white or Hispanic man wearing a white hooded jacket backwards with eye slits cut out robbed the Parkers convenience store on King George Boulevard about 5 a.m Jan. 11. He also was wearing blue or grey pants, white tennis shoes and gloves with a black backpack when he pulled a gun on the clerk and took cash from the registers.

• The numbers are in, and overall, crime was up in Savannah in 2011 versus 2010, though Savannah Police did put the best face on it by saying “the second–lowest crime rate in 21 years,” which is true.

“Violent crime numbers in 2011 were 21.2 percent below 2009, 30.8 percent below 2008 and 32.6 percent below 2007, but they were 5.2 percent above 2010,” said a police spokesperson.

“Property crimes reported in 2011were 10.12 percent below 2009, 14.9 percent below 2008 and 2.8 percent below 2007, but were 4.1 percent above 2010 numbers,” the spokesman said.

Fifteen of 18 categories tracked were under the average of the past four years, including: rape (–13), commercial robbery (–17), home invasion (–20), aggravated assault (–70), other larceny (–66), commercial burglary (–134), street robbery (–136), residential burglary (–249), auto theft (–304) and entering autos (–334.)

We exceeded the four–year average for homicides (+1) along with shoplifting arrests (+181) and theft from buildings and yards (+245.)

While total Part 1 crimes were the second–lowest since 1979, an increase in commercial robberies pushed violent crimes over 2010 levels. Homicides increased from 20 in 2010 to 26 in 2011.

Three suspects charged this year were 16 at the time of their arrest.

“The younger age of homicide suspects should serve as a warning to the community,” remarked Police Chief Willie Lovett. “It will take a grassroots effort to stem this tide.”