SAVANNAH, GA (December 7, 2012) Metro Police will return to tactics from the past to address complaints from merchants and residents near the Riverfront.

 Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police officers from the Downtown Precinct will begin closing portions of River Street to vehicular traffic. The objective is to eliminate “cruising” of the area by occupants of vehicles who play loud music and create other problems.

 River Street will be closed behind Savannah City Hall, just east of the Hyatt Hotel at 10:30 p.m. with all traffic being diverted up the Bull Street ramp. Traffic on the ramp will be reversed allowing exit from River Street only during this time. Traffic on River Street and the ramp will return to normal about 3 a.m.

 Additional officers will heavily enforce restrictions on loud music from vehicles and other offenses.  They also will be in place to assist motorists leaving River Street and determine the effectiveness of the strategy in reducing disorder. 

 “While this action may be frustrating to a few, it is necessary to address issues in the Riverfront area to assure the safety of all,” said Police Chief Willie Lovett. “The increase in cruising, behavior of some of the occupants of the vehicles on the street, and the number of pedestrians enjoying our Riverfront present opportunities for problems if we don’t address them.”

 Capt. Mike Wilkins, commander of the Downtown Precinct, announced the action in response to complaints and incident reports in the area. The tactic proved effective when similar issues arose in the mid-1990s.

 Emergency responders as well as touring companies, taxi companies and businesses in the area have been advised of the closure to allow for planning. Road signs will be erected to advise drivers of the change.

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