In Chatham County, Georgia the Magistrate Court issues civil and criminal warrants. It is also possible to file a “pre-warrant” in the Magistrate Court. This is a request from an individual that a criminal report be issued against an alleged offender. In order to file a pre-warrant, the citizen must have the defendant’s correct full name and the address of his or her home, as well as a report from the Savannah-Chatham police relating to the incident. Once the pre-warrant has been filed, a date for a hearing will be set, in which both parties will have a chance to speak. The judge will then issue an arrest warrant, if there is sufficient evidence indicating that an offense has taken place. It is also possible for the Magistrate Court to issue a good behavior warrant, filed by an individual who is being threatened or harassed, and who has given their harasser previous notice not to contact him. After the good behavior warrant has been served, the alleged offender can agree to waive their right to a hearing, so that the terms of the warrant are in effect for a period of sixty days. Otherwise, a court date will be set for the hearing. Once issued, the active warrants are executed by the sheriff’s office. The Street Operations Division is responsible for serving warrants, and although it is a small unit it boasts the second highest rate of arrest in the county.
The sheriff’s office does not provide warrant information over the phone. If you want to check on an active or outstanding warrant, you can visit the office located at 1050 Carl Griffin Dr., Savannah, GA, 31405, off Chatham Parkway. Their hours of operation are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The sheriff’s office does post arrest records for the preceding twenty-four and seventy-two hours. That information can be found online at http://chathamsheriff.org/Corrections/Bookings-24hrs, and there is a link from that page for older records. They also have a sex offender registry. The court system of Chatham County has a searchable database for court cases. You can search by name or case number. The database is located at http://www.chathamcourts.org/. Finally, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police post weekly crime statistics for the city at http://www.savannahga.gov/Archive.aspx.
Between the years of 2008 and 2010, a little more than 39,000 crimes occurred in Chatham County, Georgia. They were comprised of rape, murder, larceny, theft, robbery, burglary, and vehicle theft. In 2008, almost 13,500 crimes took place – and in 2009, that number rose to just over 14,000. However, by 2010 the number of crimes had dropped significantly, falling to just under 11,600. If the number of crimes continues to drop that drastically, the trends for Chatham County, GA will be very encouraging in the future.