Crime & Courts

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Residential areas see more crime

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AIKEN --- Outside Travis Chandler's front door, drug dealers used to peddle crack and weed in the yellow sand road that marks the entrance to Aiken's T&S Mobile Home Park.

Makayla and Alaina Dowling play with a bucket of cool water outside their home in T&S Mobile Home Park in Aiken. Their father, Eric Dowling, says that the neighborhood has improved enough that he will allow his daughters to play outside. 
  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Makayla and Alaina Dowling play with a bucket of cool water outside their home in T&S Mobile Home Park in Aiken. Their father, Eric Dowling, says that the neighborhood has improved enough that he will allow his daughters to play outside.


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Recently, Chandler, 24, stood on the stoop of his family's white trailer and pointed to the area where he's seen drug activity. He added that his home was burglarized several months ago, and a neighbor was shot dead on his front porch last year.

Almost as an aside, Chandler mentioned he went to Aiken High School with Najee Preister -- the 18-year-old who was gunned down in the park in 2007. Chandler, a biology major who graduated from college last May, said crime is bad in his neighborhood.

But like many who live in areas with several homicides over the last nearly six years, he feels helpless.

"If I could help it I sure would but there's nothing I could do," said Chandler, who is moving away from the park and in with some friends.

There have been three homicides over the last five years in the trailer park, giving it the dubious distinction of having one of the highest concentrations of homicides in the area, according to an Augusta Chronicle database of homicides since 2005.

Of the 11 homicides in Aiken County last year, two occurred in T&S.

James Collins, 16, and John Henry Anthony, 57, were killed in separate incidents last year. Preister died two years earlier.

Janice Roper, 47, witnessed that shooting. She was hesitant to talk about the death of Preister, her nephew, who was shot in her front yard. Sitting in a chair outside her house with some friends, eating lunch, Roper looked around at the neighborhood where she's spent the last 15 years and recalled a place much more perilous just a few months ago. Aiken County deputies have been getting the "hood rats" out and burglaries have gone down, she said.

"The police really did try to keep the bad people out of the neighborhood," Roper said.

Eric Dowling, standing outside his trailer as his three young girls played in a bucket of cool water, said for a time it wasn't unusual to hear gunshots at night. A heavier police presence in the neighborhood and a series of arrests have helped bring change.

"We couldn't do this a while ago," he said, gesturing to his kids playing a short distance away. "We're finally being able to have fun. Before we couldn't do that because there was so much crime going on."

But if law enforcement is stepping up its presence in the area, the sheriff's office isn't saying so.

Sgt. Dave Myers, a spokesman for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, said crime in the neighborhood is sporadic but refused to comment further on any efforts by the sheriff's office to curb crime.

"Certainly we take calls out there," he said. "I don't want to portray any one area worse than another. It's like any other neighborhood. It has its stages I guess you'd say."

Hank Byars, who manages the property with Wiecole Rentals, said the park went through a bad couple of months but efforts to organize the tenants has paid off. Regular meetings and more watchful residents has translated into fewer problems. At the time of the shootings, he said it seemed like their neighborhood was becoming a battleground for people from outside.

"I couldn't understand it, comprehend it, but it was happening," Byars said.

In Richmond County, a map of the homicides over the time span analyzed shows them spread over a wide area, with pockets of incidents in mainly residential areas.

Sheriff's Capt. Scott Peebles said you expect to see more shootings in neighborhoods with high population density and a lower socioeconomic status.

"We expect to see more shootings and therefore the potential of one of those people dying from that goes up, but homicides happen everywhere in this town," Peebles said.

Clusters of homicides appear in the neighborhoods surrounding Cherry Tree Crossing off 15th Street and on East Boundary near the River Glenn Apartments, where four people were killed in the last five years.

Those areas have significant drug activity, Peebles said, but that doesn't account for every case. Homicide motives can vary from narcotics to money to love.

He said residents in the Augusta area are fortunate to have the medical facilities in town, especially the Medical College of Georgia's Trauma Center, because it keeps many aggravated assaults from becoming homicides.

"We've got a solid medical community and a first-rate trauma center at MCG," Peebles said. "I have literally stood there and watched them bring somebody back to life ... on more than one occasion."

Back at T&S Mobile Home Park, Searcy James talked about the place he calls home. Sitting outside in the hot midday sun, a gnarled wooden cane resting against his legs and a bottle of beer in a brown paper bag in his lap, James, 52, blames the park's troubles on "wannabe gang-bangers" who moved in and cause crime. He supports any effort by deputies to keep things from getting bad again.

"You need someone right here to keep all that stuff from going on," James said. "They are like roaches. You catch one or two roaches in your house and you'll have a whole bunch of them running around soon."

Stopping violence

A group formed to confront violence in the Augusta area will hold a news conference Thursday on the issue.

The United Coalition for Humanity, an organization led by the Rev. Larry Fryer, will unveil its plan to address violence that "has left mothers, fathers, their (unborn) babies, the elderly and scores of men/women dead." The event will be held at 1 p.m. at the Carrie J. Mays Life Center, 1014 11th Ave.

The victims

A look at where homicide victims have been killed by county since 2005, according to a database created by The Augusta Chronicle:

LOCATION RICHMOND AIKEN COLUMBIA

Residence 64 33 7

Street 32 6 --

Business 17 4 --

Hotel/motel 7 -- --

Work 4 1 --

Car on street -- 1 --

Note: Totals are homicides where location is known.

Comments (20) Add comment
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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 06/15/10 - 04:57 am
0
0
We have a HUGE culture,

We have a HUGE culture, subsidized and promoted (by its existence) by the poorly managed federal welfare system. This culture is generations old and has precipitated an unnecessary and unusually high crime rate, and an attitude of no responsibility, no respect for self or others, and certainly an attitude of no accountability, even though the law disagrees. There is no social stigma within this culture and there are no actions that will lead to a severance from the welfare support, except to get a job (how likely is that). The root cause of all this crime needs to be addressed without a politically correct filter.

perfect7s
0
Points
perfect7s 06/15/10 - 07:30 am
0
0
Have you researched "where"

Have you researched "where" the welfare system originated? The church was responsible for this many many years ago and then turned it over to government. When we put God back where He belongs things will start to right themselves. These "generations" are lacking hope. They see no future and no one tries to show them a better way. I have been there where they are and have obtained victory over my situation. Without God we are all lost. I am not a fanatic. I have seen His mercy and His grace. They can too. I pray for them all.

anotherlook
101
Points
anotherlook 06/15/10 - 08:05 am
0
0
I have to agree with you

I have to agree with you Perfect7s. The Bible says that satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. If you have ever watched Animal planet or any of the other programs about animals, you will find that the lion doesn't hunt the most healthy and robust members of a herd. The lions picks out the most vulnerable, the isolated, young, ill, old and infirm as its prey. So from a spiritual perspective, those that are without hope, uneducated, impoverished, disenfranchised, rejected, marginalized, stigmatized, and alone are particularly susceptible to attack. We see its result in the crime that is assailing our communities. Prayer changes things. But we need to put our prayers to work through our actions. As a member of the household of faith, I feel much conviction that I haven't done as much as I could or should have done. But with God's help I will be able to do better!

Tots
26317
Points
Tots 06/15/10 - 08:29 am
0
0
The government needs to get

The government needs to get out of the welfare business.Let the churches and family members help the people in need.Make people work if they wont to eat and live.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 06/15/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
Augusta publishes all the

Augusta publishes all the details of Property owners that an ID theif needs to wipe out ALL YOUR MONEY but refuses to publish the names, pictures and descriptions of its M-O-S-T W-A-N-T-E-D on its website like Columbia, Aiken & other counties do. EEEEK.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 06/15/10 - 08:59 am
0
0
Augusta publishes all the

Augusta publishes all the details of Property owners that an ID theif needs to wipe out ALL YOUR MONEY but refuses to publish the names, pictures and descriptions of its M-O-S-T W-A-N-T-E-D on its website like Columbia, Aiken & other counties do. Most FELONIES in RC are NEVER INVESTIGATED. Every time yo opay your property taxes here they are used against you.
Join the National Tax payers Union. www.NTU.org

Then tune in to WBEK Crime Reports and Rewards so you can collect the reward money being offered to take the most dangerous criminals off the street, and put cash money in your pocket.

baronvonreich
1
Points
baronvonreich 06/15/10 - 11:40 am
0
0
TotsTuesday, Jun. 15 9:29 AM

TotsTuesday, Jun. 15 9:29 AM The government needs to get out of the welfare business.Let the churches and family members help the people in need.Make people work if they wont to eat and live.
------------------------------
Absolutely agree. It is past time for personal responsibility and some social Darwinism to clean up America.

Tots
26317
Points
Tots 06/15/10 - 11:53 am
0
0
flipa@9:53am-I also wondered

flipa@9:53am-I also wondered why they dont put the names and pictures like other counties do.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 06/15/10 - 03:17 pm
0
0
The quickest way to make the

The quickest way to make the vast majority of this go away is to stop all payments to mothers for having children out of wedlock. If a marriage certificate was a requirement for welfare and 'Caid, and the husband-father was required to have the same home address and actually live there, this violent breakdown of society would come to a screeching halt.

Spot checks for drug use, school attendance and conduct reports, and absolutely no assistance increases for children born out of wedlock. Genetics tests for every baby born into government assistance to ascertain the father's identity with penalties (ie, big stints of community service) applied to parents who stray.

Require people to show at least minimally decent character in order to get help from the rest of us who are footing their bills.

KSL
144842
Points
KSL 06/15/10 - 03:25 pm
0
0
Absolutely, Worried. It has

Absolutely, Worried. It has worked in the past.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 06/15/10 - 04:22 pm
0
0
Personally, I think with the

Personally, I think with the coming hyperinflation, roving gangs in neighborhoods are going to be fairly standard in every single urban center in the nation. Even productive people who have jobs and savings will be forced to cut back to the basics and essentials. No more home air condition and clothes dryers, with long lines at grocery stores for limited food stocks at outrageous prices, and so on.

Just imagine what the people who are completely and absolutely dependent on the government are going to be doing when their spigot gets cut completely off.

This article is about our good old days.

corgimom
38777
Points
corgimom 06/15/10 - 04:37 pm
0
0
"Genetics tests for every

"Genetics tests for every baby born into government assistance to ascertain the father's identity with penalties (ie, big stints of community service) applied to parents who stray."

Yeah, that would sure catch a lot of married men, wouldn't it?

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
Points
WorriedAboutOurFuture 06/15/10 - 06:00 pm
0
0
Yeah, it would. If the mom

Yeah, it would. If the mom identifies the father, he has to pick up part of their family assistance tab or face legal action. If her husband divorces her, he gets custody and she pays child support. If she refuses, she picks up a very unpleasant, long-term penalty that doesn't also punish her family. Same deal if her husband divorces her.

No more free rides.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 06/15/10 - 08:20 pm
0
0
Keep welfare but revert to

Keep welfare but revert to the 1950's when you got flour, powdered eggs, milk, butter etc, etc, etc, and mama or daddy had to actually cook. People didn't get any cash so work was necessary for rent, electric and water. Not many people were on welfare back then but no one starved and daddy's actually had to work to make do. Not like today when daddy shows up on check day to collect for his drugs or lottery tickets.

KSL
144842
Points
KSL 06/15/10 - 08:25 pm
0
0
I agree diss. And take it one

I agree diss. And take it one step further. If a woman gets pregnant, it indicates that there is an able bodied "man" in the picture who is expected to fulfill his obligation of support for the fun time. Women were a lot more careful back then for fear of being left totally responsible without anyone to depend on but family, family which might be quite annoyed.

It worked then. It can work again.

KSL
144842
Points
KSL 06/15/10 - 08:27 pm
0
0
Don't set up those young

Don't set up those young women in housing, pay for all of their expenses and not check on the steady stream of new males passing through and keeping the checks and goodies coming.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 06/16/10 - 12:43 am
0
0
Tots; I don't know why they

Tots; I don't know why they don't put the most wanted & the rewards on the RC website??? Call Ronnie at 706-821-1000 and ask him why. Most other counties do. If enough people mention it maybe they will. We are especially vulnerable as lots of crooks like to come here so they can jump back and forth over the state line.

corgimom
38777
Points
corgimom 06/17/10 - 08:36 pm
0
0
Worried, you are not facing

Worried, you are not facing reality. Many men don't want child custody and don't want the responsibility of the full-time job of childrearing. Ask divorced mothers whose childrens' father can't be bothered to visit- and there are many of those out there.

"If the mom identifies the father, he has to pick up part of their family assistance tab or face legal action. " Perhaps you are unaware that this is already law. That law has been in effect for many years now, and it doesn't matter if a man is single or married.

I wonder how you would handle the concept of the mother not knowing who the father is- which is extremely common.

KSL
144842
Points
KSL 06/17/10 - 09:13 pm
0
0
Corgi, if the mother doesn't

Corgi, if the mother doesn't know who the father is, she and her family should be responsible, not the taxpayers.

You bring a child into this world, you and the other participant need to be picking up the tab, not the taxpayers.

KSL
144842
Points
KSL 06/17/10 - 09:21 pm
0
0
If you are impregnated

If you are impregnated against your will, you either get an abortion or you and your family accept the responsibilty for the child. Don't ask for help from the taxpayers.

I refuse to dictate to people how to act on their religious beliefs.That is my disclaimer on the above statements.

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