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Rate of aggravated assaults reaches 10-year high

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Violent crimes continue to increase in Augusta, according to statistics that show the number of aggravated assaults this year is the highest in a decade.

The frequent violence that struck many Augusta neighborhoods and taxed local investigators this summer has, to some degree, continued into the fall as slayings and aggravated assaults climbed.

At 481 cases through October, the number of aggravated assault cases has already surpassed last year's total by nearly 100, according to Richmond County Sheriff's Office statistics. The cases have been increasing yearly since 2004.

With homicides grabbing headlines -- this year's total of 38 is already the highest since the early 1990s -- an increase in aggravated assaults is an ominous parallel, authorities said.

"I think that when you see aggravated assaults increase, that's when your murders are going to increase," said Richmond County sheriff's Capt. Scott Peebles. "The likelihood that an injury caused by (an aggravated assault) is going to be life threatening is greater."

Georgia law defines aggravated assault as when a person assaults: with the intent to murder, rape or rob; with a deadly weapon or other item that is likely to cause serious bodily injury to the victim; or when a person without legal justification discharges a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward other people.

Peebles said his department is trying to adapt to the violence by shifting more manpower to the violent crime division.

But he said that only serves to create gaps in other areas that cannot be filled without more funding. He said many of the people they arrest for violent crimes are repeat offenders and blamed part of the problem on overcrowded prisons and the early release of criminals.

"If people want to get serious about fighting crime they are going to need to reach in their purse and start funding prisons," he said.

When asked whether Augusta is becoming less safe, Peebles said it's rare that violent shootings and homicides are random. He said often -- although he was careful to add that it's not true in every case -- the victims in violent crimes are involved in drug, gang or other criminal activity.

"By and large, a lot of people who get shot are people we deal with in other cases," he said.

By the numbers

Aggravated assaults by year:

2000 154

2001 144

2002 173

2003 157

2004 154

2005 204

2006 232

2007 252

2008 312

2009 388

Through Oct. 2010 481

Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Office

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TruthJusticeFaithHope
220
Points
TruthJusticeFaithHope 12/04/10 - 04:47 am
0
0
That folks, is our next

That folks, is our next Sheriff talkin'. That is unless Sheriff Strength has a change in plans. Investigator Peebles is excellent, yet, he hasn't quite captured the down to earth, common sense presentation of Strength. I think he is saying that we are less safe, but that it is really the scum of the earth dealers and gang bangers who are more at risk... we just need to stay clear. Not a great summary... or one which gives us an idea of how to be safer. It could have been the way the questions were asked.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 12/04/10 - 05:01 am
0
0
Fred Russell's and the

Fred Russell's and the Augusta Commissoners Response to this and the many other Public Safety issues we are currently facing....

1. Cut 14,000 man hours from the RCSO Deputies in November
2. Cut 14,000 man hours from the RCSO Deputies in December
3. Cut at least 70,000 man hours from 2011 compared to 2009
4. Take away $750,000.00 from the Sheriff's Office Budget

While I firmly belive that government should not waste money, Public Safety, education and infrastructure are the primary purpose of government and therefore should be fully funded as needed.

Instead, we waste hundreds of thousands studying to see if we need a 5 mile trolley for downtown that would cost us $50 million dollars, studying about ball fields and studying about other downtown development.....WAKE UP - People aren't coming downtown because they don't feel safe and the Sheriff's Office doesn't have the manpower to greatly improve the area.

These decisions are deplorable. While having more cops on the streets will not solve all of our problems and community involvement is greatly needed, the RCSO by national standards is already short staffed and underpaid. Taking away all of these man hours and an additional $750,000.00 next year will GREATLY contribute to an increase of crime within our area.

More crime = Less business for our area = Less Tax Income

Cut in pay for already underpaid deputies with pitiful benefits will mean many deputies will leave for other departments which in the long run will cost our county more money for hiring, training, etc. and we will have far less experienced deputies on our beats.

The commission made a bad decision and if they aren't smart enough to correct it now then HOPEFULLY our incomming commission will make the changes needed to solve these problems.

Why have a county golf course that enables patrons to pay for less than it costs to operate and costs our county around $750,000.00 per year when it could be turned over to a private business or leased to a private business at a profit for the county. Even if we simply did away with the loss and made $50,000.00 for the year, it would be a net gain of $800,000.00 which could go to solve many Public Safety issues.

Voters, PLEASE contact your commissoners and have your voices heard - all of their e-mails and numbers are on the Augusta Richmond County Webiste.

justus4
101
Points
justus4 12/04/10 - 06:40 am
0
0
More money towards crime
Unpublished

More money towards crime DON'T mean there will be less crime, just like more money into education DON'T mean smarter kids. This constant appearance of statistical data about crime is designed to do something...nope. U didn't guess it, however, it's pretty clear about motives. Good grief, some things NEVER change.

Sandpiper
0
Points
Sandpiper 12/04/10 - 07:57 am
0
0
Let's just claim it's the

Let's just claim it's the economy that's causing the current rise in violence, or maybe we can say we just don't have enough people locked in prisons. Whatever we do, we must not address the "government check replaces man in house" program that's in its 5th decade (4th generation) and we must not mention the assault on Christian social values that's in its 4th decade and, my goodness, we mustn't even consider mentioning how the educational standards are the lowest since before WWI (because of the concerted efforts of the teachers union and the Department of Education).
I guess if we wring our hands and say "thing aren't like the old days" or "it's the economy" or something really smart like "what's wrong with the kids today", then we can continue on with a clear conscience and not have to make the necessary changes that will solve the violence problem, as well as many other problems.

CabisKhan
150
Points
CabisKhan 12/04/10 - 08:56 am
0
0
We need another splost tax

We need another splost tax JUST for law enforcement personnel, equipment. and prison space PERIOD; no feel good cultural givaways or whimsical projects.

dani
12
Points
dani 12/04/10 - 10:03 am
0
0
I don't see the concern from

I don't see the concern from law enforcement that one would expect, I'm not sure their heart is in it. This crime thing is not new, it didn't start with the cut-backs, it started years ago and has grown along with other problems that are being ignored.
I would agree with a SPLOST if we had someone who would rule with an iron fist.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
I usually make EVERYONE mad

I usually make EVERYONE mad when I address this matter because I point out the facts. The Sherriff's Office does need lots more money. They also need new techniques and equipment such as surveilance cameras in many areas.

The drug courts need to be expanded as a back door way to decriminalize drug users. The jails are full as Peebles said. There is no where to put more criminals. There is no money for more jails. Monitor and treat druggies instead of filling up the jails with nonviolent people.

Above all let whites and blacks all admit the crime is mainly committed by blacks. The violent crime occurs in their communities. The population, especially downtown, is predominantly black and our policing has to concentrate on that area.

The majority of the officers should be black and working the areas where the violent crime is occurring. The reason I say they should be black is that they have to be walking around, riding bikes and being part of the community. It is mainly a black community after all. Officers are not needed in the white areas is the truth.

Let me ask everyone this. Do we all agree the key to reducing crime is the community involvement of the blacks living in those communities? If we agree, then let's implement methods and public relations that work to get the blacks working with the police. Just saying they don't help is doing nothing. Let's change that. The task is to get the black folks on the side of the police by going into the communities and helping in every way.

As far as Peebles becoming the next sheriff I certainly hope not. He and Strength are nice enough, but they are a continuation of the Charlie Webster and Peebles' daddy's line that hand picked Ronnie Strength and has always used techniques similar to Webster's old school policing that came from his experience as a game warden.

We need new ideas, a sheriff that can be comfortable in the black community and police methods that make the residents where the crime is occurring understand the officers work for them.

bclicious
718
Points
bclicious 12/04/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
This story is obviously

This story is obviously propaganda! Crime is falling in Augusta, not rising!

Sarcasm

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 12/05/10 - 04:08 am
0
0
JustFred, Im not sure if Cap

JustFred, Im not sure if Cap Peebles was arrested for Agg Assault years ago. However, if he was convicted of it, he would not be able to carry a firearm, therefore disqualifying him from being a deputy. Its possible he was arrested, but probably doubtful. As far as I can remember, he was always an excellent cop and would make an even better Sheriff.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 10:30 am
0
0
It was Peeble's daddy who had

It was Peeble's daddy who had all the trouble and had to be let go thirteen years ago although it had nothing to do with assault.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 12/04/10 - 10:48 am
0
0
Certain crimes in Augusta are

Certain crimes in Augusta are showing a decrease. Several types of crimes including some violent crimes are down this year.

Intresting the AC mentioned aggravated assaults are up as of October 2010. Which is not a surprise since their have been more homicides this year than last...

Somehow they didn't mentioned the violent crimes who are lower as of October 2010. Both the number of armed robberies and rapes have decreased in Augusta this year.
http://www.augustaga.gov/index.aspx?NID=325

Armed Robbery
2010: 340
2009: 370

Rape
2010: 85
2009: 89

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 11:05 am
0
0
Oops.

Oops.

Lori Davis
924
Points
Lori Davis 12/04/10 - 11:20 am
0
0
I spoke of these issues

I spoke of these issues during the campaign and no one; Mayor, Commissioners, or RCSO would discuss it. I gave many ideas of how to begin to solve the problem. I mentioned other ways that revenue could be generated. The media was not even engaged in my platform or ideas. I knew that I would have an uphill battle to win, but my hope was that these issues would come forth and be discussed by our other candidates and elected officials. It did not happen. Now that the media has decided to get on top of the issue, we must call or write our individual commissioners and let them know of our disgust in the way this city is being handled. I am looking toward Grady Smith for leadership on this Commission. Thanks AC for finally reporting the serious issues affecting Augusta. We as citizens must demand the best from our elected officials or let's replace them.

CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 12/04/10 - 11:33 am
0
0
Very interesting article.

Very interesting article. Bottom line, all the "happy-smiley" from certain people in positions of power won't change this statistic. And those of us who have been screaming for some sort of acknowledgement from these "polly-annas" that there is a problem have had quite enough of their feeble excuses. Until leaders admit that we have a real issue here and it must be addressed, nothing will change.Sadly, Mr Strength's hand-picked successor doesn't seem to get it either, which ensures we'll have more of the same in the future. I for one am seriously considering moving so I won't become one of these statistics. Maybe to N.Augusta or Co. County. Places where government leaders and law enforcement officials aren't afraid to address and correct policies that aren't working.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 11:37 am
0
0
The seriousness of the crime

The seriousness of the crime problem was purposefully not brought up by Deke, the Commission, the Sheriff or the Chronicle until recently after much prodding from many of us.

Has Deke ever mentioned the crime rate and murders? Nope. He doesn't want to be attached to the bad things, but he will jump on a business opening that employs three people.

Some of us tried. Lori Davis certainly gave it her all. I seriously doubt we would be as aware of the crime today if it were not for her campaign.

chadwick323i
48
Points
chadwick323i 12/04/10 - 11:59 am
0
0
At countyman- I got a feeling

At countyman- I got a feeling that more than 30 people will be armed robbed (Armed Robbery- 2010: 340;2009: 370) since its the holidays. I bet somebody got arm robbed when I made this comment.

leanngj
0
Points
leanngj 12/04/10 - 02:21 pm
0
0
I have to disagree with

I have to disagree with statement that if we want to get serious about fighting crime people need to "reach in their purse and fund new prisions." Currently, the jails and prisons are full of untreated and/or undiagnosed people with mental illnesses. Many of these people in our facilities are not criminals, they simply have an untreated mental illness. If we want to fight crime as a community we need to ensure that everyone has access to adequate mental health services--NOT MORE JAILS! Treatment works, but only if people are able to get it!

MJ
0
Points
MJ 12/04/10 - 02:38 pm
0
0
Countyman, the reason for the

Countyman, the reason for the decrease in armed robbery is the same reason we're having higher murder rates.

They're actually putting the weapons to use instead of simply using them as an intimidation factor.

If you want to get serious about fighting crime you need to be prepared to take action if you find yourself in a situation where action is needed.

You have a choice - which statistic do you want to be?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/04/10 - 02:52 pm
0
0
leanngj...I agree but mental

leanngj...I agree but mental illness accounts for a very small percentage of people who commit violent crimes. Even so, treatment needs to first include acknowledgement and awareness of wrongdoing. Too often I see the birth of criminal behavior in teens who get away with it because the blame can be placed on other people or society, etc. The local juvenile justice system is known for the blame game and dropping charges. A person is more likely to repeat a crime if they have not been made fully accountable of previous crimes. The justice system is too light on sentencing.....I'll bet that 99.9% of violent criminals in this area already have a record.

MJ
0
Points
MJ 12/04/10 - 04:41 pm
0
0
Patty, just wanted to say

Patty, just wanted to say that every time you post something I'm drawn to that picture.

It's like it has its own gravity or something.

AWyld1
3
Points
AWyld1 12/04/10 - 05:01 pm
0
0
I agree Patty and will go a

I agree Patty and will go a step further. Stop this insane practice of not divulging the names of juveniles that commit violent offenses and quit expunging their juvenile records. We, as citizens, have a right to know who these violent kids are and what criminal activities they have been a part of. Countyman, I applaud your tenacity but once again no matter what color you paint a piece of fecal matter it's still a piece of fecal matter...

humbleopinion
0
Points
humbleopinion 12/04/10 - 05:29 pm
0
0
"Arm robbed"? Hang onto

"Arm robbed"? Hang onto your arms people. At least they are not "leg robbing" us. But that may be on the rise next year.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/04/10 - 05:39 pm
0
0
Thanks MJ

Thanks MJ

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/04/10 - 08:37 pm
0
0
Riverman....I'll refrain from

Riverman....I'll refrain from saying what I really want to say.

Where is the money (and manpower) to 'monitor and treat druggies' going to come from?

MJ
0
Points
MJ 12/04/10 - 10:20 pm
0
0
The problem is that there is

The problem is that there is no fear of consequence among the juvenile criminals today. They simply get off with a slap on the wrist for the crimes they commit and, as a result, go on to become career criminals.

If the penalty for a given crime is great enough it will be a deterrent amongst juveniles. If they just get counseled and re-inserted into society they will continue with their behavior. Fact.

As far as "Where is the money going to come from?" I say that money is already being spent, but it's going out in the form of welfare checks. Stop issuing payment to families that have collected welfare for generations, anyone that's had a drug conviction or any other crime, and that money can be used to improve society instead of being a form of pay-off to keep people complacent.

Unfortunately if, for some reason, the welfare checks are put on hold, Augusta's crime rate will skyrocket.

There is a very specific demographic that is the overwhelming majority of welfare recipients in Augusta. That same demographic is also contains the overwhelming majority of criminals.

It's not just Augusta, either. It's the way welfare and crime intertwine in every city in this country.

I sort of hoped that having Obama elected as President would be used as a tool to help motivate urban youths to do something with their lives other than what they've grown up to know. Given the huge support from the black community I kind of figured he would be looked at as a role model. "He did it, I can do it too." Hasn't happened that I've seen, at least not in Augusta.

Kids today are more concerned with maintaining image than being a better person and looking to improve themselves. They dress, act, and WANT to be viewed as thugs.

Sad, really.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 12/04/10 - 09:48 pm
0
0
Patty-P said,

Patty-P said, "Riverman....I'll refrain from saying what I really want to say. Where is the money (and manpower) to 'monitor and treat druggies' going to come from?"

Why not say what you want to?

As far as where the money will come from. Do you realize the money wasted on the war on drugs and incarceration of those convicted? Think about the violence and crime associated with illegal drug use and sales. Without going into detail because I'm sure you will understand if you think about it a little, we could prevent and treat drug addiction at a fraction of the cost we spend now on the war on drugs....which has proven to be a monumental failure.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/04/10 - 10:09 pm
0
0
MJ...I completely agree.

MJ...I completely agree. Juveniles have no fear of consequence because there is no consequence. The juvenile justice system that I've seen here in Augusta is a complete joke. I also believe that poverty and crime are intertwined. From my viewpoint, young men/teens are more susceptible to involvement in gangs, drugs, and criminal activity because of a lack of positive male role models - most likely because of the vast majority of young, single parent households in this day and age where the father is absent. If children are born into poverty they will adapt to the ways of the community in which they are being raised. Young boys look to older males as role models. If these 'role models' are drug dealers, gang members, murderers and felons, the youth will learn to do the same. Not every child will fall prey to a life of crime because of socioeconomic status. With the right guidance from the right person, the cycle can be broken.

MJ
0
Points
MJ 12/04/10 - 10:18 pm
0
0
Agreed.

Agreed.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/04/10 - 10:18 pm
0
0
Riverman, there is no 'cure'

Riverman, there is no 'cure' for the war on drugs. That's almost like saying we are capable of ending the war in the Middle East. People are going to use and abuse drugs. If the government wants to save a dollar on incarceration, they need to legalize it. Otherwise, they'll be 'treating' a lot of people for a very long time.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 12/04/10 - 11:40 pm
0
0
Patty-P, would you agree that

Patty-P, would you agree that single parent households are caused mostly by unmarried men and women. And if you do, would you also agree that a man will go as far as a woman will let him. That could also be said about a woman will go as far as a man will let her.(Do not know many that would stop Her)
That being the case would you agree that many births to unwed mothers and fathers could be stopped if the woman stopped the man. The money saved that is given to these single parents could then be spent on education and other needed things. I have always said that it is the right of anyone to have children but it is not my responsibility to support your child by raising taxes on the working people.

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