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Crowded areas around Augusta are subject to theft

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While working at the Soul Bar downtown earlier this year, Graydon Bannister saw a man break into three cars parked nearby.

Bannister immediately called the police, and the suspect was taken into custody.

Car break-ins and the theft of items such as credit cards and purses are the two most common crimes in entertainment areas, said Capt. Scott Peebles, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. An Augusta Chronicle analysis of crime data from the sheriff's department shows these were the most reported incidents over a 12-month period in four of the five areas that house the bulk of Augusta's entertainment and shopping.

At Augusta Mall, however, shoplifting is the highest incident of crime, followed by property theft.

Peebles said places that draw a lot of people usually have crime. He said incidents in these entertainment and shopping areas get more media attention, which causes a false perception of high crime.

"Most of the crime you would see on a level like that are nonconfrontational types of crime where the victim never has contact with the suspect," Peebles said.

First Friday is an event that typically attracts a large crowd and has drawn scrutiny. In the 12 months analyzed by The Chronicle , there were five property thefts committed during the downtown Augusta event.

"We know there's going to be a greater number of people out and about, so we adjust our patrols," Peebles said.

A strong police presence on First Fridays keeps crime down on those nights, Bannister said, but sometimes police are slow to respond when she calls at other times.

"I'm not scared one bit of going downtown," she said. "There's just as much trouble anywhere else as there is downtown."

If someone has a cell phone or purse stolen, it usually happens when they're not paying attention to their belongings, Bannister said.

Vigilance could help prevent some of the crimes, said law enforcement officers.

A "stretched-thin" law enforcement cannot prevent all crime from occurring, Peebles said. People should be aware of their surroundings, avoid carrying large sums of cash and credit cards and refrain from leaving valuables in vehicles, he said.

Lt. Tony Walden, of the property crimes division for the sheriff's office, said some people choose to park their vehicles in areas more susceptible to break-ins during events downtown.

He said he noticed a significant number of break-ins to vehicles parked along streets and empty lots surrounding James Brown Arena, rather than in the center's paid parking lot, during a recent concert.

Businesses in other entertainment areas take precautions to protect their customers from crime.

Cindy Fiske, the owner of Somewhere in Augusta on Washington Road, said the bar hires an off-duty police officer although she generally thinks crime isn't high in Augusta.

"I know crime is present on Washington Road, but we have never had a problem," Fiske said.

At Augusta Mall, overall security incidents have decreased compared with last year, said Linda Hardin, the general manager.

The mall utilizes trained security officers and surveillance cameras, she said.

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Thefts in Augusta entertainment areas

Statistics from June 2010 through June 2011 in the main entertainment/restaurant/shopping areas of Augusta show the most prevalent crime in those areas was larceny. The five areas include:

- The 2700 block to 3200 block of Peach Orchard Road

- Augusta Mall, 3450 Wrightsboro Road

- Downtown Augusta including blocks between 7th and 13th streets from Riverwalk to Ellis Street, and the blocks bordering James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium

- Agerton Lane and Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway (which includes the Augusta Exchange shopping center)

- The 2700 block to 3200 block of Washington Road

LocationTheft From VehiclesTheft From BuildingsOther Offense
Peach Orchard401443
Augusta Mall222750
Downtown-a1052764
Washington Road1313562
Augusta Exchange47448
Downtown central business district-b43--9

a-exact address; b-no exact address

Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Office

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Riverman1
83548
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Riverman1 07/17/11 - 08:06 am
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"He said incidents in these

"He said incidents in these entertainment and shopping areas get more media attention, which causes a false perception of high crime. Most of the crime you would see on a level like that are nonconfrontational types of crime where the victim never has contact with the suspect," Peebles said.

Don't y'all feel better now?

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 08:20 am
0
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Why yes river....of

Why yes river....of course....when I get back to my car & I find my window bashed-personal papers missing with imp.info--gun missing--credit cards gone---I always say..."Heavens to Betsy...gee I'm one lucky girl..".......& I feel so much better.....:)

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 07/17/11 - 08:25 am
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All these folks that are

All these folks that are stealing are just looking for a better life and should be given amnesty! AMNESTY for all criminals. IF 24 million undocumented folks deserve amnesty,EVERYBODY deserves AMNESTY! ALL law-breakers unite and vote for amnesty! Where is our tolerance?

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 08:32 am
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Yes

Yes copperhead.....yes-yes......why not just invite all the law breakers into our home-give them food-money-car--& we can live outside in a tent if necessary...we are selfish to want to keep the $$ we have worked for .....BUT wait a minute....Aren't we doing that already----the only part left is moving into the tent BUT HEY that's coming...:(

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 07/17/11 - 08:35 am
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I have a sign in my yard that

I have a sign in my yard that invites the criminals to TRY to steal from me.......I need the target practice!

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 08:41 am
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http://message.snopes.com/sho

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=59238

Speaking of gun control yard signs....this one is great!!

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 08:48 am
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Read the small print....It

Read the small print....It sez...my nabor doesn't believe in guns...so out of respect to him..I won't fire my gun to protect him..
HIS yard & his sign.....:)

Riverman1
83548
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Riverman1 07/17/11 - 09:08 am
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SeenItB4, using Peebles'

SeenItB4, using Peebles' logic, we should encourage everyone to park in the most dimly lit place they can downtown and keep the "confrontational" crime down to a minimum. If you are strolling down the street and see questionable figures following you, just put your money on the sidewalk and keep going. Anything to keep the "confrontational" statistics down.

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 09:16 am
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river....I have a feeling

river....I have a feeling that Peebles will wish he had NEVER said those words...lol...
In Atlanta area they(crooks-punks) are now breaking into cars at church services......now if we just some target practice next door & they happen to have a stray bullet now & then--wow--where are you Cobalt....need some freshening on your gunhandling??

Riverman1
83548
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Riverman1 07/17/11 - 09:26 am
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I wish every theft and crook

I wish every theft and crook was "confronted" either by the person being robbed or law enforcement. Confront them with a weapon and crime actually goes down instead of the statistics being hidden in "nonconfrontational" goobledegook.

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 09:54 am
0
0
Now look at this headline

Now look at this headline again....it sez..
Crowded Areas Are Subject To Theft....wow--
now that must mean where there are 0 people we have 0 theft...
...gosh river,....why didn't we think of that....now we need to re-locate where there are 0 people...
...........ummmm.....where would that be?

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 10:03 am
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Stats...how it looks on

Stats...how it looks on paper---GEEZ--Fix It!

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 07/17/11 - 10:12 am
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o "...(H)e noticed a

o "...(H)e noticed a significant number of break-ins to vehicles parked along streets and empty lots surrounding James Brown Arena, rather than in the center's paid parking lot, during a recent concert."

Could that be because the officer that should have been patrolling was "on special" at the paid parking? Kinda like extortion, isn't it? "Pay to park or your car is up for grabs."

o As far as the mall goes, I was there yesterday and was struck by the lack of law enforcement visibility. I've been in Atlanta these past weeks, visiting in passing; Mall of Georgia, Perimeter Mall, Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, among others. I took note that on average there was either a highly visible uniformed security guard or peace officer patrolling on each level. In contrast, at our mall there were two deputies hanging out by the escalators, and one porcine rent-a-cop. Perhaps the youth I noticed strolling by with the UGA tee not covering the Glock 29 stuck down between his butt cheeks is undercover security?

WW1949
19
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WW1949 07/17/11 - 10:19 am
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Ladies do not leave your

Ladies do not leave your purse unattended while visiting a grave in Westover-It will not be there when you get back. Cars are riding thru and getting them. Also do not leave anything in site while at a funeral because windows are being broken. When you go to a grocery store on Washington there is one well dressed black man, a well derssed Mexican woman and a tall black man that go isle to isle with you and pretend to be shopping. When you turn your head to get something from the shelf you are robbed of your wallet. They then walk out the store and get in an older model gold Buick with a dented front fender. Your credit cards are used within a short period of time. Beware of your surroundings.

seenitB4
86793
Points
seenitB4 07/17/11 - 10:21 am
0
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Hi dsstewart... I have said

Hi dsstewart...
I have said that on here B4----The mall of Ga. does a good job keeping the punks in line...I feel safer here in shopping areas than in the csra...

seenitB4
86793
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seenitB4 07/17/11 - 10:23 am
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Hi ww1949....& they wonder

Hi ww1949....& they wonder why so many are packing??

WW1949
19
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WW1949 07/17/11 - 10:58 am
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Hello this fine morning to

Hello this fine morning to Seenit. I have to be PC but I think I would not cry or care if someone took care of these creeps.

WW1949
19
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WW1949 07/17/11 - 11:03 am
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Quote from TK "Give them free

Quote from TK

"Give them free lead...oh that's right, Big Brother says lead is dangerous and must be baned even in bullets."

Just yesterday the Walmart in North Augusta and Robbies' Convience stores in Langley, SC were robbed.

hounddog
0
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hounddog 07/17/11 - 01:35 pm
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Things are only going to get
Unpublished

Things are only going to get worse if leaders in the black communities and black churches do not start addressing the problem they have created.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/17/11 - 01:52 pm
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dstewartsr....I'm from

dstewartsr....I'm from Savannah. The mall there has a police substation connected to it. I don't know what the crime stats are, but when I lived there, there was little to no crime at the mall or the surrounding businesses. I wonder if they've considered putting a substation at the Augusta Mall?

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/17/11 - 01:54 pm
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...also to my last post...in

...also to my last post...in other cities, they have police substations in or near the Walmart shopping centers.

Riverman1
83548
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Riverman1 07/17/11 - 02:03 pm
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The mall has a chief of

The mall has a chief of security. I'm not sure if he is still there, but he used to be the former police chief of a small town in the CSRA. He had about 50 officers working for him, many who were off duty Richmond County officers. I believe the mall puts much more into security issues than most realize.

Frankly, I believe the mall, Augusta Exchange, etc. deserve much more regular police protection. They are paying the majority of the taxes and that's where the people are. Doesn't that deserve police protection without them having to pay even more?

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/17/11 - 02:15 pm
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I think it would be a good

I think it would be a good idea...the area also has several banks that would benefit having RCSO nearby.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 07/17/11 - 02:33 pm
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No boosterist or

No boosterist or self-serving, obstreperous comments, yet.

Riverman1
83548
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Riverman1 07/17/11 - 02:57 pm
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Someone just told me at the

Someone just told me at the mall RCSO is now using undercover officers, also. Interesting.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/17/11 - 02:59 pm
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Very interesting. Although

Very interesting. Although I'd rather them be seen and their presence known so that people won't bring the foolishness there in the first place.

AutumnLeaves
7613
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AutumnLeaves 07/17/11 - 04:04 pm
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I had my car broken into at a

I had my car broken into at a social gathering/public function in the early 90's on Monte Sano Avenue (Hill section of Augusta). The aftermath of that theft was devastating on several levels. I just heard on good authority there were several car break-ins a few weeks ago on Sunday night at St. Mary's on the Hill Church, also on Monte Sano. Also, during the "Cross Walks" on the last two Good Fridays, cars were broken into at Burns Memorial Methodist Church on Lumpkin Road, right across the street from the Alleluia Community. If you don't think there are problems here, you're not paying attention.

AutumnLeaves
7613
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AutumnLeaves 07/17/11 - 04:07 pm
0
0
Substations aren't used

Substations aren't used enough to be very helpful, even when they are in place. I had hoped they would be a deterrent, but the one up at the apartments near Regency Mall didn't seem to do much good. I hope I'm wrong, but there were sneakers over the wire (indicating drug-trafficking/gangs) for years. I haven't short-cutted through there in quite some time, it was definitely a place to avoid and too many potholes are probably on the through street to Gordon Hwy by now, since the Regency Mall is still a neglected area.

AutumnLeaves
7613
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AutumnLeaves 07/17/11 - 04:10 pm
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I do apologize for not

I do apologize for not answering the question, though. I have not recently been a victim of a crime, but I have a stack of police reports from a neighborhood I used to live in a few years back. The neighborhood from you know where.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/17/11 - 04:24 pm
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Autumn...I'm not native to

Autumn...I'm not native to Augusta. Only been here a few years. I'm not sure why the substation out by Regency didn't work. I lived in Savannah prior to moving here and maybe they just worked things differently, but it works great there. As far as the sneaker/wire thing...well that's the brazen attitude of the youth here in regards to law enforcement and the judicial system. This problem goes unchecked because of the way it's been handled for years.
It would be nice if they could do something with the Regency Mall.

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