The hype generated by the media over the past several months about murders in Augusta has inadvertently created a false impression about crime in our city.
The statistics on crime in 2010 are completed, and overall criminal offenses are down. Only two major categories were up in 2010 over 2009: Murders, which cannot be prevented or predicted, and burglaries were the only major areas of increase.
Commercial armed robberies were down, individual armed robberies were down, aggravated assaults were down and rapes and statutory rapes were flat for 2010.
Major media coverage on murders makes it sound as though crime in Augusta was increasing and out of control. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We ended last year with 37 murders. In years past we have had as many homicides or more than we had last year. In reviewing each case, there was only a handful of victims for whom drugs, gang activity or domestic violence did not play a part.
I have said many times during my career that if you are not selling drugs, buying drugs, involved in gang activity or domestic violence, your chances of being murdered are extremely slim.
I hope this clears up the negative feelings or impressions that some citizens of Augusta may have about crime in our community.
(The writer is sheriff of Richmond County.)