Golf week generally crime-free

Deputies turn out to keep traffic flowing
Crowds line the fairways during the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

Thousands will descend on Augusta in the upcoming week. Despite what might be imagined, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office said, the influx of cars and out-of-towners provides for a relaxing week.

"Typically, it's a quiet week (for law enforcement) around Augusta," said sheriff's Capt. Scott Gay. "Even though there are more people here, we typically don't have that much trouble related to Masters Week."

Last year, there were more issues than normal for deputies because of the abundance of people following Tiger Woods.

Authorities said the majority of Augustans are either out of town for the week or working secondary jobs around the Masters Tournament.

In short, fewer people have the time to commit crimes.

"We typically don't have the problem as far as pickpockets and people stealing tickets," Gay said. "Although tickets are stolen and we get our fair share of forged tickets, we don't have the big city crimes of pickpocketing and people's pocketbooks being stolen."

Capt. Scott Peebles pointed out that there is usually a slight increase in prostitution charges during the week.

DUIs also don't pose the problem that might be expected from the influx of vacationing sports fans.

Gay said the majority of visiting guests take advantage of their hotels' shuttle services when celebrating.

The main issues during the week tend to be charges of disorderly conduct and traffic offenses.

"Of course, we have more traffic accidents because we have more vehicles on the roadway," Gay said. "For the number of vehicles put on the roadway, I don't think the number of accidents (is) unreasonable."

Col. Gary Powell said the sheriff's office's main goal during the week is to "keep traffic flowing."

Other than that, it's a breeze.

"We've done it so many times that it's not bad," Powell said. "Everybody starts getting tired toward the end of the week, but everybody knows their job."

More deputies will be working during the Masters Tournament, but Powell said he could not release how many more officers would be working.