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Vehicle thefts on rise in Augusta metro area

Six-county region is ranked 26th on national list

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Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Robbie Silas was investigating the carjacking Monday afternoon of a Pontiac Grand Am from a couple at Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. on Bobby Jones Expressway. The thieves took the car at gunpoint and used it to ram an ATM on Augusta West Parkway in an attempt to steal cash.

This Pontiac Grand Am was recovered after being stolen at Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. on Bobby Jones Expressway. Police say the carjackers used it to ram an ATM on Augusta West Parkway in an attempt to get the money. 
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This Pontiac Grand Am was recovered after being stolen at Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. on Bobby Jones Expressway. Police say the carjackers used it to ram an ATM on Augusta West Parkway in an attempt to get the money.


Topic: Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
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About an hour earlier, Silas had been busy with the theft of a car from Russell Street that thieves drove to Rent-A-Center on Wrightsboro Road.

A few months ago, a group of teens was using stolen cars to drive around and steal even nicer vehicles, Silas said.

Statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau show car thefts are happening more frequently across the six-county Augusta area.

On the bureau's annual ranking of the top 50 car-theft hot spots, the Augusta area -- which includes Aiken, Burke, Columbia, Edgefield, McDuffie and Richmond counties -- ranked 26th last year. In 2008, the area wasn't even in the top 50.

Using data from law enforcement agencies, the report ranks metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, by the rate of thefts per 100,000 people. Though the Augusta MSA had only 130 more reported car thefts last year, the area jumped nearly 30 places as the rate of thefts rose to 433.27 per 100,000 people.

However, as the area as a whole sees more thefts, Richmond County is witnessing fewer thefts, according to statistics from the sheriff's office. They show a year-to-year decrease in car thefts and a drop in the per capita rate of thefts.

Augusta population data for 2009 was not available, but a calculation by the National Insurance Crime Bureau of the per-capita car theft rate for 2008-09 using 2008 population data shows the number down by about 33 points.

Sheriff's Capt. Scott Peebles said it's difficult for thieves to get parts off a vehicle, so it can be much easier to simply use them in other criminal activity.

"Most cars are not stolen for financial gain," he said. "Most are stolen to be used in the commission of other crimes or for joyriding."

Sheriff's Lt. Tony Walden, who supervises the property crime division, said the trend comes and goes.

"We've seen these types of actions before," he said. "It doesn't happen often, but then at the same time it's not a new trend."

Walden cited his department's statistics through April, which show thefts were about same as last year -- 550 in 2009 and 546 in 2010.

Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the group that released the ranking, emphasized that the report is a population-based review, so some areas rank higher than those with more thefts.

Cities such as Los Angeles aren't even in the top 50 because their massive population dilutes the number of thefts, even though it is widely known as one of the busiest areas in the country for vehicle thefts.

"They lose more cars in a halftime in a Lakers game in Los Angeles than Modesto or Laredo lose in a year," Scafidi said, citing the list's first- and second-ranked cities. "LA never appears because they have 5 (million) or 6 million people to spread those thefts around."

Staff Writer Tom Corwin contributed to this article.

Car theft hot spots

A report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau ranks metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, by the rate of thefts per 100,000 people.

TOP 10 METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS

1. Laredo, Texas

2. Modesto, Calif.

3. Bakersfield, Calif.

4. Stockton, Calif.

5. Fresno, Calif.

6. Yakima, Wash.

7. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.

8. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.

9. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.

10. Albuquerque, N.M.

GEORGIA MSAs in the top 50

15. Columbus, Ga.

20. Macon, Ga.

26. Augusta-Richmond County

28. Savannah, Ga.

45. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.

Note: Rankings are based on the car theft rate calculated using the number of thefts and the population of the statistical area.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

Richmond County car thefts
 CAR THEFTS PER 100,000 RESIDENTS*TOTAL VEHICLE THEFTS**
2009670.11,301
2008703.071,365

* Final census population data is unavailable for 2009. Both rates were calculated using 2008 census data.

** Includes cars and trucks only

 TheftsRecoveryPendingArrestsRecovery Pct.Pending Pct.Arrest Pct.
Wrightsboro Road533313162%25%2%
Gordon Highway45287362%16%7%
Deans Bridge Road33187255%21%6%
Broad Street32235172%16%3%
Peach Orchard Road27174363%15%11%
Walton Way27173063%11%0%
Washington Road1986242%32%11%
Laney-Walker Blvd.17141182%6%6%
Greene Street16122175%13%6%
Windsor Spring Road1363346%23%23%
Comments (26) Add comment
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corgimom
36687
Points
corgimom 05/29/10 - 04:45 am
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Countyman, another ranking

Countyman, another ranking for you! Augusta ranks 26th out of 50!

RoadkiII
6807
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RoadkiII 05/29/10 - 05:43 am
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dangit corgi, you beat me to

dangit corgi, you beat me to it. But Countyman is correct, Awguster is on the move.

jasonpilgrim
0
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jasonpilgrim 05/29/10 - 06:45 am
0
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The thing that stands out to

The thing that stands out to me in these stats. is the very low % of arrests that are made compared to the number of cars stolen. I'm sure Richmond county would see some improvement if we would follow through past the recovery phase of the investigation. Just a thought...

usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 05/29/10 - 07:37 am
0
0
What amazes me is that

What amazes me is that presently we do have a right to bear arms. Arm yourself, know what you are doing with your weapon, and blast the thug away. Many of them want to meet allah. Do a civic service and assist him in doing so. Notice I said presently. dumbobama is working (underhanded) to change that right as quickly as he can.

Riverman1
90449
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Riverman1 05/29/10 - 07:55 am
0
0
Neighborhoods need to ban

Neighborhoods need to ban together and hire off duty deputies for "specials" to patrol and give them protection.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 05/29/10 - 08:39 am
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Surely not much damage to
Unpublished

Surely not much damage to that car for trying to destroy an ATM. Guess they didn't want to spill their Big Gulps. Plus, those two overworked police types not accomplishing much investigation standing around watching a car being loaded onto a wrecker. Meanwhile, the doctors' office complexes across the street are hit three/ four times a year lately by copper thieves - all this within two blocks of the Sheriff's house.

charliemanson
1
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charliemanson 05/29/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
flipa Thursday, May 27 12:30

flipa
Thursday, May 27 12:30 PM

We should get the cops that sleep all day in their cruisers on the river to chase these crooks,.. They are after all, well rested.
_________________________________________________

Like Flipa states, if the cops weren't sleeping all day, maybe, we wouldn't have all these car thefts.

Riverman1
90449
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Riverman1 05/29/10 - 08:49 am
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CharlieManson, the officers

CharlieManson, the officers Flipa sees sleeping out by the river may have to work "specials" at night when they are off-duty for extra money. They offer "protection" to those who hire them.

Maybe the neighborhoods and blocks downtown should hire them. If they have to sleep so they can give protection for extra money, shouldn't we just leave them alone?

charliemanson
1
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charliemanson 05/29/10 - 09:05 am
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@corgi and Road, need to read

@corgi and Road, need to read the article closer. This includes the six-county region. So, Richmond County was only one of the six counties where vehicle thefts were occurring.

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 05/29/10 - 09:10 am
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This is at the end of the

This is at the end of the article: "Note: Rankings are based on the car theft rate calculated using the number of thefts and the population of the statistical area."

I believe that helps the statistics greatly. The high number of thefts in Richmond County are lowered percentage wise because the population of Columbia County and other counties in the metropolitan statistcal area with low theft rates are included.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 05/29/10 - 10:51 am
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I agree with usafvet. I hope

I agree with usafvet. I hope each and every one of them hit an armed victim and are punished the more more effective and efficient way!! That will deter some future carjackings and if it doesn't, it will save the taxpayers a lot of money. I think these losers should be taught a lesson the hard way, the justice system sure isn't going to reform them, just make them worse.

KSL
140132
Points
KSL 05/29/10 - 11:00 am
0
0
While I feel a bit safer in

While I feel a bit safer in Aiken County, I love the GA laws as far as carry goes. If someone is standing outside my vehicle, demanding it, can I grab my gun and shoot them if they are pointing a weapon at me?

countyman
21299
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countyman 05/29/10 - 01:02 pm
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0
The article says thefts are

The article says thefts are down in Richmond county. I guess the other five counties caused the increased for metro Augusta.

countyman
21299
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countyman 05/29/10 - 01:13 pm
0
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Riverman where did you get

Riverman where did you get that info from? Where does the article say low thefts in the other counties... Richmond county has over 200,000 people... Columbia has about 115,000 and Aiken county over 150,000 residents. I doubt Columbia and Aiken county have low thefts compared to Richmond county. Especially since the article says thefts are down in Richmond county compared to last year... Burke, Mcduffie, and Edgefield probably have low thefts because of their rural population.

turncoat
0
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turncoat 05/29/10 - 01:30 pm
0
0
One thing for sure, if I am

One thing for sure, if I am on a jury trying someone who has SHOT a hijacker, burglar, or child abuser, I will still, cheat, lie and even steal if required, but I would never let that person be convicted.

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 05/29/10 - 03:48 pm
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Countyman, you don't think

Countyman, you don't think the low crime rate in Columbia County helps Richmond County statistically as regards to the various crimes per hundred thousand people in the MSA? Auto thefts included.

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 05/29/10 - 04:16 pm
0
0
The article is about the

The article is about the number of vehicle thefts and not other crimes.. The article says thefts are down in Richmond county. But the metro area still had a increase in vehicle thefts.. The article didn't say Columbia county vehicle thefts were lower. Which means vehicle thefts in Columbia county are higher compared to last year... I don't see how that's helping Richmond county. When vehicle thefts in Richmond county are going down and thefts in Columbia county are going up.

corgimom
36687
Points
corgimom 05/29/10 - 04:31 pm
0
0
charliemanson, yes, I

charliemanson, yes, I understand perfectly what SMA's are.

Countyman- what this really means is that the cities that were on last year's assessment has lowered their theft rate- while the Augusta SMA hasn't. That fits right into the report a couple of weeks ago that said while nationally, crime is showing a decrease, Augusta has risen slightly overall.

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 05/29/10 - 04:36 pm
0
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Countyman, I appreciate your

Countyman, I appreciate your enthusiasm for Augusta and you are a plus with the information you provide, but sometimes you are not realistic with your support. The fact is you are 12.58 times as likely to have your car stolen in Richmond Cty than Columbia Cty.

From the 2009 GBI Data Base:

County …..Murder, Rape, Rob., Assault, Burg, Larc., Auto Theft, Arson
Richmond 26……..139…700…....192....3636...8975...1648.....68
Columbia 4……….16…..46…….....89.....409..1923......131......6

http://gbi.georgia.gov/vgn/images/portal/cit_1210/13/41/1598322302009%20...

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 05/29/10 - 05:20 pm
0
0
lol at countyman. I guess he

lol at countyman. I guess he doesn't think the criminals in RC are stealing cars in other counties instead of the rustbuggy pieces of garbage that surround them in RC. Spin on!

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 05/29/10 - 06:57 pm
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lol at baronvonreich. I guess

lol at baronvonreich. I guess he doesn't think the criminals in CC are stealing cars in other counties instead of the rustbuggy pieces of garabage that surround them in CC. Spin on! I think he needs to check the number of inmates in the Richmond county jail who are from Columbia county. Compared to the number of inmates in the Columbia county jail who are from Richmond county. Their are tons of more inmates from CC in the RC jail..

Riverman I love your support for Columbia county. But the article still said thefts are down in RC. The article didn't say thefts are down in CC. The article is about vehicle thefts??? Why are posting several other crimes??

CC is still not helping out RC as much as you think... Edgefield and Mcduffie counties are helping out the area the most. Columbia county on the link you provided had a higher index crime theft compared to Mcduffie and Burke counties. Compare the crime in Columbia county to Mcduffie or Edgefield. RC has about 100k more residents than Columbia county. CC has about 100k more people than Edgefield and Mcduffie.

Columbia vs Mcduffie.

Murder, Rape, Robberry, Assault, Burglary, Larcerny, theft, arson
Columbia 4.....16.....46.....99.....409.....1,923.....131.....6
Mcduffie 0.....0.....16.....32.....174.....376.....43.....0

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 05/29/10 - 06:20 pm
0
0
Why would you steal a 1972

Why would you steal a 1972 Rambler in Richmond County, when you can steal a new Hummer in Columbia Couty.

ennui
0
Points
ennui 05/29/10 - 08:53 pm
0
0
If you steal a Hummer, you

If you steal a Hummer, you are either not planning on going very far, or stealing a bunch of fuel to drive it. Those things are gas hogs.

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 05/29/10 - 09:06 pm
0
0
Countyman, of course Columbia

Countyman, of course Columbia County has more total crimes than McDuffie or Burke Counties. Columbia County has 112, 000 residents. While they have about 22, 000. Thus, we should have about 5 times the crimes they have, but we don't.

Just look at motor vehicle thefts and try to understand what the stats show. On the other hand, Columbia County with more than half the population of Richmond County has one twelfth the stolen cars that Richmond does. But, hey, you know all this already. Keep up the good work telling the entire CSRA how great we all are.

Nat the Cat
1
Points
Nat the Cat 05/29/10 - 09:37 pm
0
0
I hope these car thieves read

I hope these car thieves read these articles and posts. My neighbor has an 1980 Chrysler [without a muffler], that I would love for them to pick up. Hopefully, it will be in the Kroger parking lot on Washington Road with the keys in it some day.

AutumnLeaves
9593
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/30/10 - 02:27 pm
0
0
Sorry, Nat the Cat, thieves

Sorry, Nat the Cat, thieves tend to want to be quiet when they're going about their dirtywork. I understand your hope that they would make an exception, or are just plain stupid enough to steal it anyway, though. I hate noise pollution.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 06/24/10 - 11:30 pm
0
0
Well they recovered 53% of

Well they recovered 53% of the vehicles, and one arrest for every 17 vehicles stolen, so stealing cars in Augusta is pretty lucrative, and you have only one in seventeen chance of being arrested.

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