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Richmond Hill area battling high crime

Area has highest number of incidents

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When burglars hit Eddie Berry’s shop on Deans Bridge Road again in July, it was another example of the crime that has plagued that part of Augusta.

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Cpl. Patrick Blanchard patrols the apartment complexes behind the abandoned Regency Mall in Augusta.  Emily Rose Bennett/Staff
Emily Rose Bennett/Staff
Cpl. Patrick Blanchard patrols the apartment complexes behind the abandoned Regency Mall in Augusta.


The Richmond Hill emergency response area – bordered by Deans Bridge Road on the west, Gordon Highway on the north, Peach Orchard Road on the east and Bobby Jones Expressway on the south – had the highest number of crimes tracked by The Augusta Chronicle since the newspaper began collecting data the past six months for its weekly online crime map.

Richmond Hill residents and businesses had 345 crimes that included assaults, burglary, property damage, robberies and one homicide. The majority of the crimes were assaults, 178, and burglaries, 126.

“I secured my place – put up a camera and alarm,” said Berry, the owner of Berry’s Complete Auto Service, adding that he decided to keep his business there because it’s a good location for a mechanic despite several break-ins since he opened a year ago.

Sheriff’s Cpl. Pat Blanchard’s beat covers part of Richmond Hill, and he’s well aware of the criminal activity in that area. He said he believes the
numerous apartment complexes and dense population are major factors in Richmond Hill’s high crime numbers.

“You should have been with me at 6 a.m. when I came on,” he said one morning last week. He responded to a call about a robbery at the Dollar General on Peach Orchard Road. The owner was at the store at 6 a.m. because he was still dealing with a burglary at the store just four hours earlier, Blanchard said.

As a patrol officer, a major focus of his job is being a deterrent. People using or selling drugs move elsewhere, and people considering breaking into homes or businesses aren’t going to practice any stealing skills in front of a uniformed officer in a marked patrol car.

“Just being there is a lot of help,” Blanchard said.

As the 15-year veteran officer weaved his patrol car through the Richmond Hill residential streets and apartment complexes last week, he explained that a number of the apartment complexes hire off-duty deputies to provide security. At Southgate, for example, two officers keep the complex covered all day and most of the night.

Blanchard said he sees a lot of burglaries and car break-ins. One of the first things he does in the morning is cruise through apartment complexes, using his side lights to look for broken glass – a telltale sign of break-ins.

Blanchard points out one apartment window that was pierced by a bullet. The bullet entered a baby’s room and landed about three feet from the crib, he said. Officers respond to a lot of calls about shootings but by the time they get to the site, the shooters are gone, leaving behind only shell casings, he said. It’s rare to be able to find any witnesses.

As Blanchard patrols the neighborhood, few people give him a second glance. He believes it is because people are used to seeing regular patrols and officers responding to calls. It’s not unusual for residents to address Blanchard by name, he said. Officers often get flagged down by residents with trouble or tips.

Blanchard hates to see good people driven out of the area by crime. He told of a family from New York who hadn’t finished unpacking boxes when someone stole the children’s bikes out of the backyard. They packed back up and left, Blanchard said.

WALTER PARKER BECAME a crime victim at his Deans Bridge Road tint and detail shop near Augusta Tech Drive after less than a year.

Authorities never caught the people who kicked in the door of Xtreme Detail & More on Aug. 28 and stole cash, electronics, about 50 DVDs, 100 CDs and more than $800 worth of new clothing.

Parker had just taken over ownership of the building in February. The previous owner warned him that the building had been targeted before when someone stole the air-conditioning units.

Residents who live in the neighborhood to the rear of the business warned that it isn’t uncommon to see strangers roaming through their yards.

“It’s not safe – not at night,” Parker said of the area.

After the incident in August, Parker added a surveillance system and more lighting and decided to shorten his hours.

Blanchard said he advises every burglary victim to get an alarm system. In 15 years of responding to thousands of break-ins, Blanchard said only a handful were at homes or businesses with alarm systems.

Even with diligent patrols, the problem is that burglars kick in back doors, not those in front, Blanchard said.

SOME RESIDENTS HAVE taken steps to make the community safer.

Tom Jackson lives in the approximately 1 square mile area of the Alleluia Community, a relatively crime-free zone, Blanchard said. Jackson said that when members of the Christian faith community first started moving into the area 30 years ago, robberies and other crimes were common.

The community members took turns at prayer watch that went 24/7, and at midnight one or two residents would drive through the community checking on homes, businesses and the school. Over the years, countless break-ins, a couple of fires and lots of suspicious people have been stopped.

About a year ago, Jackson said, they decided to reach out to residents living nearby to coordinate efforts, and this year they joined the more formal community watch program. The signs went up recently.

Blanchard said the Alle­luia residents are good about calling the sheriff’s office to report suspicious people – such as a man recently seen walking down the street carrying a large TV. If more people would make such calls it would help officers make arrests and recover more stolen property. Stopping one burglar can bring at least a respite from crime, he said.

Like Berry and Parker, who don’t want to be chased out by crime, the Alleluia residents and others who have invested in the community are committed to the Richmond Hill area.

HIGH CRIME

Since May 17, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has provided information about crimes in Augusta neighborhoods. So far, the emergency response areas with the most crimes have been:

Richmond Hill345
Housing Authority259
Old Savannah244
Windsor Spring239
Barton Chapel234
Wheeless231
Richmond Factory214
Jamestown200
East Augusta195
Meadowbrook192
RICHMOND HILL

In Richmond Hill, the crimes tracked by The Chronicle included:

Assaults178
Burglaries126
Property damage12
Robberies18
Homicides1
Comments (54) Add comment
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Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/10/11 - 07:34 pm
0
0
But do they arrest the

But do they arrest the burglars when caught? That makes all the difference.

dichotomy
34491
Points
dichotomy 12/10/11 - 08:25 pm
0
0
They arrest some of them but

They arrest some of them but we don't lock them up for a few years like we should be doing. The judges let them walk with probation. The revolving door is standard operating procedure and the criminals have absolutely no fear of being locked up. Why should they? They are the only "paying customers" the judges have to feed their contract probation kickback system.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/10/11 - 08:30 pm
0
0
Yes dichotomy, I experienced

Yes dichotomy, I experienced the 'probation' deal when a burglar stole over $7K from me and served NO time. I've seen a burglar get almost a life sentence right here in Augusta for stealing NOTHING from a judges home. Burglary is burglary in my opinion. It's a slap in the face to see how criminals are dealt with in Augusta. I've also seen deputies let a burglar/thief/drug dealer walk away too. Then everyone sits baffled trying to figure out what happened to RC. The justice system only works for certain folks and certain communities.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 12/11/11 - 01:28 am
0
0
The article describes the

The article describes the boundaries of the Richmond Hill neighborhood as:

“…bordered by Deans Bridge Road on the west, Gordon Highway on the north, Peach Orchard Road on the east and Bobby Jones Expressway on the south…”

What are the boundaries of the other mentioned neighborhoods?

Housing Authority
Old Savannah
Windsor Spring
Barton Chapel
Wheeless
Richmond Factory
Jamestown
East Augusta
Meadowbrook

iLove
626
Points
iLove 12/11/11 - 01:39 am
0
0
Wow
Unpublished

Wow

KSL
134737
Points
KSL 12/11/11 - 02:29 am
0
0
Anyone who commits a crime

Anyone who commits a crime needs to serve their time. We taxpayers, and some of the non-taxpayers who are producing these criminals need to anti-up, keep the off them streets long enough for them to feel the pain.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 12/11/11 - 03:38 am
0
0
What percentage of the folks

What percentage of the folks convicted of crimes in the AJC grew up with their natural fathers? With any father-figures? With no father-figures?

The Elephants-in-the-Room are promiscuity, reproductive irresponsibility as well as personal and civic cowardice in dealing with the first two.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 12/11/11 - 03:48 am
0
0
"Justice" in the Augusta

"Justice" in the Augusta Judicial Circuit in the era of "The Chief":

"Rich folks pay with their money. Poor folks pay with their time" and money.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 12/11/11 - 04:16 am
0
0
Quit blaming everyone but
Unpublished

Quit blaming everyone but yourself, you should be responsible for your actions, not anyone else! Learn to earn what you have and not try to steal from others. If you don't know right from wrong, just keep shooting each other and eventually the folks that work for what they will be able to enjoy what they reap.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 12/11/11 - 05:31 am
0
0
Revolving door justice is a

Revolving door justice is a very large factor in the problems we have in our area.

Lack of funds for the Sheriff's Office which does not allow for enough road patrol deputies or a pro-active community division combined with a commission that cut over 40 deputy positions in the past few years has decreased routine patrols and is also a large part of the problem.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 12/11/11 - 07:26 am
0
0
The problem is overcrowding.

The problem is overcrowding. We have slapped the wrist of some many criminals when they first commit a crime that they have no fear of going to jail because they know the stay will not be long. This has breeded the hardened career criminal who knows how to work the system. The jails now are so full of them that they know if I sit tight for a few days they will let me out and then I can go right back to doing the same thing.

CobaltGeorge
165050
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/11/11 - 07:53 am
0
0
I have a solution to all you

I have a solution to all you God fearing citizens in those Augusta boundaries. Move to CC, they are building nice new homes to give to you. There you will be safe for awhile.......

CobaltGeorge
165050
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/11/11 - 08:59 am
0
0
GaStang22, "INFECTION" Why

GaStang22, "INFECTION" Why won't our society and government really do something to eradicate this destructive disease. First, do away with the major cause of it, "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS". Second, administer the no longer used drug, "COMMON SENSE". Third, begin injecting a few rounds of lead here and there, and you will see this disease disappear like the Small Pox.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 12/11/11 - 09:06 am
0
0
I could say I told ya

I could say I told ya so...just the other day I posted these areas....amazing isn't it....I don't even live there now BUT I know where the danger sites are...you would think the COMMISH knows this.....wow...
Let me see now....how can we distribute these groups to other places w/o cleaning up this mess in RCTy...EUREKA...I think I have it---Martinez here we come!!!

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/11/11 - 09:11 am
0
0
Good morning seenit...

Good morning seenit...

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/11/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
Yeah, havn't seen countyman

Yeah, havn't seen countyman in a few days.

CobaltGeorge
165050
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/11/11 - 09:19 am
0
0
P-P, maybe an over dose.....

P-P, maybe an over dose.....

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 12/11/11 - 09:25 am
0
0
Good am patty & CGee &

Good am patty & CGee & all...maybe he is at the beach with Deke!

CobaltGeorge
165050
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/11/11 - 09:25 am
0
0
B4, top of the morning to

B4, top of the morning to you. Spent all day yesterday with family members putting up Christmas (woops) holiday lights at my son holiday resting place. Couldn't do much but act like a Drill Sargent.

AC, please don't banned me for using a filtered word!

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 12/11/11 - 09:56 am
0
0
I'm buying very little in

I'm buying very little in Christmas trees & etc....too much $$$ going to China ...when we have USA Christmas goods again...I will buy again.

That is a crime too...just like the shootings/killings in RCTy.....crime to send our jobs away...

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 12/11/11 - 10:13 am
0
0
I don't even think the police

I don't even think the police disturbed their nests Nissan. Plenty of honey being made in those hives. Crime is this way because it was allowed to get this way. When more than just the citizens become concerned with crime it will improve.

Brad Owens
4727
Points
Brad Owens 12/11/11 - 10:17 am
0
0
The interesting point in this

The interesting point in this story for me, I am in the security business, is just how much of a mercenary force the Sheriff's Dept has become.

it is like they have become a defacto private security force between county shifts. Who controls the where theybare allowed to work and how is it decided WHO has liability? Seems that the sheriff is porviding a private security force at discount rates and there is no need for insurance because they are sworn officers.

Good deal for the private businesses and extra cash for the deputies. Is this reported and taxed like servers in restaurants? I am not trying to stir up trouble, I am just wondetring how it is managed. I have managed a large guard force for years now and it is not easy manking all the shifts work and relief to give proper rest.

Seems like the Sheriff could just use these overtime/extra duty stats and convince the commission that certain places would be willing to support additional officers. Maybe a special security Tax Allocation District would be the ticket?

Also, the Alleluia Community folks look oout for each other and do not have thugs running their streets. They are not afraid to patrol and report the vermin when they find them.

I see some possible solutions here, Sheriff's Posse comes to mind along with some community policing way of doing things.

If I were Sheriff I would do some things different, but then again, until you walk that mile in his boots you really have no idea what he goes through. Sheriff Strength has dedicated his life to the county, so I don't want to second guess his too much., but we need to have a focus on stopping crime in our town.

Safety and Security along with education is the way forward.

My $0.02 worth,

Brad

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 12/11/11 - 10:26 am
0
0
OKNOW...Take a good look at

OKNOW...Take a good look at this picture at the back of this complex...would it take $$$ to clean up this garbage....NO...it would take some elbow grease--some caring--some concern for the welfare of the kids around this mess...Stop with the throw money at the problem....THROW some dang hard work & CLEAN UP the garbage in yor neighborhood..GEEEZ
Get off your FAT behinds & away from the Springer show & clean up your home.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 12/11/11 - 10:29 am
0
0
And probably everyone
Unpublished

And probably everyone commenting today, voted for a multi-million dollar increase in the jail. What they needed was 35 acres on the county line with tents, barbed wire, dogs and no visitor priviledges. But, again we have never seen a SPLOST we didn't love.

MrMatthews
13
Points
MrMatthews 12/11/11 - 11:06 am
0
0
What are the demographics of
Unpublished

What are the demographics of these areas? I'm assuming they are dominantly black. And the fact of the matter is, you will never remove crime from the black community. It is a part of their culture.

Please someone prove me wrong and show me a black dominant neighborhood with less crime than a white dominant neighborhood of equal income levels.

I'm also willing to bet the majority of the folks in these communities listed in the article are living solely on government handouts.

The only way to deter the crime(impossible to eliminate the crime) in these areas is to set examples with drastic punishments.

Of course this is going to seem racist to everyone because I do not hide behind political correctness to avoid life's problems.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/11/11 - 11:08 am
0
0
It is sad to see an area go

It is sad to see an area go to crime, but so quickly shows external issues at play.

In short.

Poor: Planning, Zoning, Social and Population Density dispersal issues by still downtown focused politicians.

NO Apartment complex has the social / peer stigma or responsibilities that go with community homeowner ownership and up kept. Since every apartment complex is managed to a P&L, its considerations are not what is best for the community area, only its total occupancy numbers. If apartment complex has a hard time renting due to increasing High Crime, well the Augusta Housing Commission is all too willing to step in and use our tax dollars to place SECTION 8's with no background checks in our communities. Every-time the Commissioners approve another Apartment Complex next to an established community, all they are really doing is setting the stage for more crime.

Apartment Complexes also allow Politicians a PC way of quietly dumping problems into other areas to improve downtown tax rolls and renewal without having to say the nasty word "PROJECT" to where they are dumping.

It should be noted that Augusta is doing the exact same thing that Atlanta tried in the late 70's and 80's, allowing dense bedroom apartment complexes next to established communities. It looked good initially on the tax rolls, but it failed big time costing the city millions in public serivces (police). Their Crime quickly increased as more apartment complexes where built and they started competing for renters. As they competed for renters their renter standards quickly drop to living, breathing and can pay with a waved move in deposit. Many of Atlanta's apartment complexes built in the 70's and 80's are now run down due to lack of up keep, have become criminal cess pools that hire 2 or 3 off-duty police to patrol at night, or were condemned by public health.

In short the Augusta city planners either got what they wanted for the South Side or really screwed up.

JRC2024
9309
Points
JRC2024 12/11/11 - 11:21 am
0
0
When they watch the Springer

When they watch the Springer show all they are seeing are the dregs of society and people no upstanding decent citizen would want to be around. All tatted up with piercing everywhere. Makes you kind of sick to just look at them and then those with grills-kind of looks like that guy in the James Bond movie. Madgerman you have the right idea. Get them with their own kind and away from all the decent people. Seeit, you know what I do and you are right, get some elbow grease and trash bags. They are cheap but clean up will never happen until the Section 8 man makes them do it. See it all the time. Nasty people. Just met with someone off Boykin Rd the other night and his yard was clean, shrubs cut and edges trimed but on the left side was a Section 8 with cars parked on the yard with ruts and trash overflowing the cans. Different kinds of people.

Riverman1
87072
Points
Riverman1 12/11/11 - 11:46 am
0
0
JRC20, I disagree about those

JRC20, I disagree about those on the Springer show. I love people who don't rotate their tires on time, who have never paid taxes in their life, but have street cred at the beer joint and can whisper horses like no other. This is 'merica.

JRC2024
9309
Points
JRC2024 12/11/11 - 11:54 am
0
0
River, doesn't sound like you

River, doesn't sound like you so I know it is sarcasam. You know from my comments that I do not like deadbeats or the handout crowd. Never have and never will.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 12/11/11 - 11:56 am
0
0
JRC....RM has been drinking

JRC....RM has been drinking too many mint juleps...:)

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