BRUNSWICK, Ga,. -- What happened in Brunswick left many looking for answers: Why did it happen? Why here?
Bryan Thompson is in his eighth year as mayor.
"Overall, we've seen the crime situation begin to fall slowly over the past few years," said Thompson.
He cites the biggest drop or decline has been in aggravated assaults.
"We've been able to make a dent in some of the statistics," said Thompson.
But two weeks ago, the city was challenged by the brutal killing of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago. Residents began to question their safety.
"Brunswick is safe, Brunswick is safe," said Thompson.
It rocked the community when Santiago was shot and killed in his stroller.
"This should not have happened here, this does not happen here, but it did," said Thompson.
Thompson said the heinous act forced law enforcement at city county and state levels to unite in the search for the suspects.
"We were able to make arrests within a day and a half," said Thompson, "and there could be more down the road."
The mayor said the coastal Georgia community is improving economically, and they're making strides to enhance the inner city areas that are in disrepair.
"The vast majority of the folks in city of Brunswick are good citizens," said Thompson, "They just don't have much money."
He said the per capita income of his city is $23,400 a year.
When asked about a gang problem, the mayor said there are loosely organized groups of young men, but there's no gang problem.
"We have law enforcement watching them," he said.
The past few weeks have attracted media attention and Thompson said the reports paint his community as a place of fear and loathing.
He said that is not the case.
"This is not the norm here," said Thompson," Brunswick is safe."
First Coast News