* Try to avoid bums who sell "palm leaf roses" (they can be very persistent! I saw someone hit a tourist with one because he wouldn't buy it.)
* Avoid "bum square" (the square west of City Market)
* Car theft is a growing crime - lock your doors and don't park somewhere you don't feel safe in.
* Be careful on the stairs going down to River St. - they're very steep! There is an elevator (and rest rooms!) from Bay St. to River St. at the River St. Visitors Center (next to the Hyatt).
* Be careful walking on the cobblestones on River St. - especially in heels!
Altho some might say it's a bit creepy walking the streets of Savannah at night... I didn't feel at all unsafe while I was there. There is an eerie feeling about it tho.
One danger I did feel was in my footing on their sidewalks. I did a fair amount of walking and I tend to be looking at every tree, house and garden along the way. You must beware of the the sidewalks as you step. The old bricks and blue stones are often heaved from an underground tree root and it could cause you to go bump in the night! or even the day. I'm one who manages to trip over my own toes sometimes..so maybe I noticed it more.
Part 1: I'm a Senior at the Savannah College of Art and Design. As a student here, I've heard plenty about the things that go on in Savannah, mostly thanks to the Clery Act, which requires the school to disclose crime information when it concerns students or their property. Don't let the beauty of Savannah fool you, it can be a very dangerous place. Keep in mind that I grew up in a rather bad part of a city so it's not like I'm some naive student from a nice place and a rich family.
It is true that the historic district is safe during the day. I'm a female and I've walked around downtown by myself during the day and never felt very unsafe. The homeless people in the square near the Jen Library can be unnerving, but I've never had anything remotely scary happen to me. Basically, you need to be paying attention at all times. Of course, bad things can still happen, even in the middle of the day. Last May a girl was abducted in broad daylight from across the street from one of the dorms and raped. I've heard of terrible things happening like that but usually in the middle of the night.
After dark is when it gets really scary. There have been so many muggings to students that it's impossible to keep count. Forsythe Park is not some place you want to be at night (or maybe even during the day if there's no one around). One time, five male students were held up at gunpoint and robbed there. It was only 7pm! I also heard of two female student's whose car broke down and while they were looking for help three men with guns robbed them. Also, the area south of Forsythe park is very shady, the area around Star Land and all.
There has also been quite a bit of violent crime too, especially murders. A college age girl (not a SCAD student) who was walking with two males through Orlean's Square (which is directly behind Oglethorpe House) at 3am on Christmas eve last year was shot and killed in a robbery gone bad.
Part III: Driving through is fine though, just make sure your doors are locked and if you were unlucky enough to break down have a cell phone handy to call the police. Basically, if you have no reason, avoid Montgomery St. If you're going to points south of the city, take Abercorn or Habersham St. They are much safer. Even MLK is safer than Montgomery St. and it's only one block over. I had a friend who lived right off Montgomery and he came home one night to police all over the place and a dead body on his neighbor's porch.
Another really shady spot is at the corner of Henry and East Broad. Another Time Saver, another really shady area. In fact most of East Broad is kinda shady. I would avoid it all together, especially south of Gaston St. There's no reason for a tourist to be over there anyway.
It's also illegal to be in the squares late at night and I've heard that the police will tell you to get out of them. Also, note that it's illegal to ride a bike through the squares and the police will give you $116 ticket if they see you.
The one area that I think is pretty safe at night is River Street because there's a ton of bars there, and lots of tourists and cops.
Considering Savannah's size, there is a LOT of crime. And the problem is that it's difficult to define areas because it's everywhere. One side of a block will have a multi-million dollar mansion and there will be a dilapitated house two doors down. I wouldn't avoid Savannah, I love it, but I'd definitely be wary about going around at night, even with a group. Savannah is not safe and that's why the school has so much security. We have guards posted at every building on campus and roving patrols that go throughout the city.
Basically use your head. If you see bars on the windows of say, the beauty parlor, you know you're probably not in a very good area and should probably leave, quickly.
Part II: Also a place to definitely not go at any time is the Time Saver, known by students as the Crime Saver. It's at the beginning of Oglethorpe Ave just as you are coming into the city from the Talmadge Bridge. The thing is that on the one side of Oglethorpe you have the tourist information, such as Grayline and all that and on the other side is the Crime Saver. I have heard tale that drug deals go down there and there are usually shady groups of young men hanging around. I have heard of students who dared to venture over there (probably to buy drugs) getting beaten up and robbed.
Also, the housing projects that are behind there are apparently some of the worst in the city. And there are a ton of housing projects all over the place. Most of them are okay, although I wouldn't go wandering around in them.
Also, down Oglethrope, there is the Thunderbird Motel, which used to be creepy but they've cleaned it up and renovated it. The Greyhound Bus station is across the street though and there are weird people who hang out there, although that seems typical of the location in any city.
One of my friend's and two other girls were chased down Oglethorpe St. in the historic district at 2am by two men who were trying to mug them. Luckily, they outran them. Oglethorpe is definitely somewhere you don't want to be after dark. It's badly lit thanks to the huge trees in the median. It's much safer to walk down a side street, such as Hull which is on the back side of Orlean's Square, because they're better lit. Or better yet, take a cab to your hotel instead of walking back. A safe place after dark to get gas or snacks is the Parker's at Drayton and Hull St. It's a hangout of students and is open all night.
I would also avoid Montgomery St. south of I-16 at ANY time of the day or night. That is not some place you want to be walking around, even in the daytime. One look and you will understand why. It is shady! And I don't mean like the shady caused by the Magnolia trees :D
While on a tour through savannah, one of the women asked if she could take some of the mossy stuff hanging from the tree's because when anyone thinks of savannah georgia, thats what people think of ! However, our tour guide let us know how dangerous that stuff really is . If you have heard of Chiggers, you deffinatly want to stay away. Chiggers are the baby version of what is called a harvest mite . They look like ticks, only they are red, have 8 legs , and in order for them to become a full grown up harvest mite, they have to drink/eat blood. that is where you come in, just like ticks, they eat/drink blood. they itch like crazy, and they just dont stop ( for about a week that is ) . If you think you have come in contact with Chiggers, go home , take your clothes off and rub your self with alchohol. When i was little, I remember being attacked by some in south jersey - and i put clear nail pollish on the bites (it works , trust me ) but anyways ,if your in savannah GA , please, leave the moss alone ! (for your own saftey , and to preserve the signature savannah feel )
You generally feel safe in Savannah. People are always around the main tourist sites and you do see police patrolling. However, I read that recently Savannah’s crime rate has jumped dramatically. I didn’t want to believe it but it sadly seems true. However, the historic district, the city market, and down on River Street don’t have many problems. Like in a lot of cities, the problems are isolated and not where you’d probably be going if you’re a tourist. Yet, don’t let this get your guard down because when we were walking down River Street along the river at dusk, we almost did get mugged (I think). I wanted to see my favorite waving girl before we left and when we got there, the light was almost gone. While the path did have streetlights, it didn’t help it was almost entirely empty all the way down there. (She’s separated and way down at the end of the walk) There was one man hanging out who didn’t look entirely “with it”. He was walking toward us following a group of 3 guys. When he saw us, he turned, stared at me and my bag, hung back and waited about 45 seconds before he trailed us. When we got to the Waving Girl, he waited for us outside the circle that surrounds her, lurking in the bushes. I quietly told Bobby and we left through one of these bushes on the other side. Maybe it was innocent, I didn’t want to find out and either did Bobby. Just be aware who is around you or following you.
The crime rate in Savannah is nearly twice that of an average American city of its size. There is a murder or rape every week. There are 10 robberies and assaults per week. Someone is assaulted every day. Four cars are stolen every day.
There are 182 registered sex offenders in Savannah.
See the website below for further information.
The bottom line is that the crime statistics indicate that tourists should be watchful during their visit to Savannah. Be sure to check with the motel/hotel staff to see if there are areas that need to be avoided.
We were there three days and spent our nights out in the suburb motels along I-95. We had no problems but we also did not veer away from the standard tourist places and did all our sight-seeing during the day.
Savannah government presents a crime map at this website:
Downtown on River St, the streets and sidewalks are lined in BRICKS! But they aren't really kept up and are extremely dangerous, especially if you are bar hopping. I made the mistake to go out with my husband and the military guys, who didn't look at my gorgeous heels I was wearing to tell me not to wear them... I could barely walk and keep up with them! A lot of sidewalks are also cement mixed with oyster shells. Interesting, and a better surface than the bricks, but still not smooth!
I have read other Savannah reviews that warned about the dangers of walking around Savannah at night and to avoid pick pockets. I was there for seven days and really never had any problems at night or during the day. I did have the occasional homeless person come up wanting money or wanting to sell me some type of flower. Other than that I found the historic district pretty safe even at night. My advice is to use common sense. If you walk around the historic district at night just be sure to go with someone else. There are homeless people who hang around the historic park squares at night, and on River Street, but that doesn't mean they will do anything to you. Make sure you keep your wallet or purse secure. Don't pull out your purse or wallet if someone approaches you wanting money. You're just asking for them to grab it and run off. I would give this same advice no matter what large city you go to. This really isn't specific to Savannah. One last thing, the neighborhoods can get pretty rough Southeast of Forsyth Park. Just keep a street map with you to make sure you don't veer off course. These neighborhoods are a little outside the tourist area anyway so the chances of you getting off are probably slim.
Savannah has its bad neighborhoods, but I felt completely safe in the historic district. We didn't stroll around late at night. We are old fogey's and we go sightseeing early and after we eat dinner we just stay at the hotel later in the evenings. Just stay in the historic area when you are out walking about. and don't go beyond Foysth Park. I have been there twice and never felt in danger. There are lots of college kids (SCAD / Savannah School of Art and Design) just watch out for them on scooters and bikes. The school owns buildings all over the area and they are just going to their next class. Don't even attempt to drive around the city, streets are narrow and parking is very limited. Savannah is a city like any other, there are good areas and bad areas. Its is the most beautiful city I have every visited.
Savannah is known as the City of Parks and Squares. Be sure to take time to explore them on foot (not at night, though). However, driving around them may be confusing, especially at night.
My advice -- park and walk.
Park in Savannah, historic district, can be dangerous or at least, expensive.
All the places have their parkmeter. The regular price is a quarter per 15 min. After 5PM, there is no control.
When the time is exceeded the parkmeter turns into red. The cop in charge of checking passes quickly with a small car (see the picture below). As soon as he (she) sees the red sign, he (she) gives a fine even if the time is just exceeded for few seconds. He(she) does not leave his(her) car and gives the ticket very quickly. For this reason, the ticket is often not put on the windscreen but on the side window.
Savannah is a fun place to visit, but you can easily go into the wrong area. There is alot of renovation going on to fully restore the town. You can be looking at a million dollar mansion and go up one block and see really bad poverty. Just be cautious on where you are and always look ahead.
parking downtown is real hard to find.
When you find a meter to put money in to park, it's for a short time only.
They have built a few new parking garages which is your best bet so you don't have to keep running and loading your meter with coins.
We paid $2.00 per hour in the parking garage.