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Hot spots for drugs in Augusta revealed

East Augusta leads in share of arrests

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There is one constant in east Augusta that many residents there would like to see change.

"I won't say there isn't any hope," the Rev. Larry Fryer said of the drug situation in east Augusta. "But it's a cloudy picture. Some people have given up."  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
"I won't say there isn't any hope," the Rev. Larry Fryer said of the drug situation in east Augusta. "But it's a cloudy picture. Some people have given up."


It remains the highest concentrated area for drug activity in Richmond County, according to law enforcement agencies and an Augusta Chronicle analysis of recent drug arrests.

Fifteen percent of the 93 drug arrests this year originated in east Augusta, more
than double the percentage of any other area.

The Rev. Chris Waters at Thankful Baptist Church said his congregation is suffering because of the problem.

“If you go down Walker Street any time of day, you’ll see drug activity,” he said.

The church at Walker and Third streets has had to push its Bible study and choir practices earlier in the day because of fears in the community.

Waters said many of the church members have become “prisoners in their own community.”

One of the main problems in east Augusta are sellers among abandoned homes, said Capt. Scott Gay, one of 10 members of the sheriff’s office’s Crime Suppression Unit.

“Operationally, it’s very difficult,” he said.

The sheriff’s office defines east Augusta as the slice of Richmond County bordered by Laney-Walker Boulevard, Walton Way and the Savannah River.

East Boundary sees the most drug-related problems. Carrie Street, off Laney-Walker Boulevard, and Eve Street in Harrisburg follow closely behind, said Gay, whose unit tackles street-level narcotic sales.

Gay said crack cocaine is the top illegal drug, followed by marijuana and methamphetamine.

Though there are more cases for marijuana, he said crack is more problematic.

In 2011, the sheriff’s office made 1,429 drug arrests. The number has dropped slightly every year since 2009, when it reached 1,633.

East Augusta is not alone in having problems with drug activity. The communities of Harrisburg, Barton Village, Meadowbrook and Beth­lehem are all considered problem areas by law enforcement. The neighborhoods together account for 13 percent of this year’s drug cases.

It’s imperative, Gay said, that residents do their part in getting rid of drug dealers.

“The neighborhood can make or break the case,” he said. “It’s a whole lot easier for the bad guys to go to a neighborhood where their neighbors don’t care.”

The Rev. Larry Fryer said he’s trying to work with the community to change the mindset of the young people he sees on the streets near his church – Hudson Memorial CME at East Boundary and Taylor Street. All they can see is the money drug dealers make, but he sees that money leading to further violence on the streets of east Augusta.

“This is important because children are dying at my feet, and it’s not all physical death,” he said.

Staff writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this report.

2012 DRUG ARRESTS

Fifteen percent of the 93 drug arrests in Richmond County this year originated in east Augusta, more than double the percentage of any other area.

ARRESTS BY AREA*

East Augusta 14

Barton Village 6

Kissingbower 5

South Turpin Hill 5

Harrisburg 4

Richmond Hill 4

*Only areas with four or more arrests listed

ARRESTS BY DRUG

Marijuana 46

Cocaine 28

Pills 18

Paraphernalia 1

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seenitB4
91146
Points
seenitB4 03/11/12 - 07:07 am
2
0
Now this is sad...this

Now this is sad...this article is saying...we know exactly where the problems are but we can't seem to get a handle on it...DUH-DUH
Punks 100......police 0

fatboyhog
2025
Points
fatboyhog 03/11/12 - 08:05 am
4
1
The police can't seem to get

The police can't seem to get a handle on it because of the courts turn them out and the jails are overcrowded. Then, add to the mix that for every one drug dealer locked up, there's no shortage of ones willing to take their place. The mindset must be changed. All these people can think about is "bling"...they want what they want, and they want it now. Gotta have the shiney stuff.

Cestlavie
147
Points
Cestlavie 03/11/12 - 08:31 am
4
3
Unfortunately, that doesn't

Unfortunately, that doesn't say much for the power of God operating in those churches. Churches should not be running scared, they should be reaching beyond the four walls and dealing with the problem both naturally and spiritually. Naturally by petitioning the commission to tear down those abandoned buildings, encouraging Neighborhood Watch programs, and turning in the names of those who are conducting the drug trade. Spiritually, by doing prayer walks, reaching out to the community by providing clothes and food to those in need, and by street evangelism. Otherwise, move your churches to the suburbs if you are afraid to go head to head with the problem. I personally know several pastors and churches in the area who have done this and there has been a great turnaround in their particular neighborhoods.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/11/12 - 08:55 am
4
0
^ I agree. One thing many
Unpublished

^ I agree. One thing many "churchs" are lacking is the TRUE POWER OF GOD. Maybe instead of being focused on tithes and offerings (money), what about the souls of your members? What about your soul?

Fools_and_sages
360
Points
Fools_and_sages 03/11/12 - 09:36 am
0
0
They "want and want" because
Unpublished

They "want and want" because they are just like the rest of us-- only they don't have the same opportunities we do. Look at the schools in Richmond County. A couple years ago over two-thirds failed to make AYP and the graduation rates are atrocious. Part of the reason for the educational issues is lack of emphasis on education among the people in their neighborhoods and families, but part of it is because education is underfunded in GA to begin with and educational standards in GA are laughable. Did you know that a lot of kids get out of public high schools without reading an entire novel these days? Did you know the lowest grade kids can get in high school is a 60, even if they don't hand in any assignments or take a single test? Did you know that many schools offer retests on every test in some subjects just to inflate passing rates? That's not encouraging achievement. It's allowing kids to fail because they are lazy, giving umpteen chances when kids should be doing their best to begin with, and encouraging kids to skate by on low achievement or mediocrity at best. Recent budget cuts to education and furlough days are also reducing classroom time and the numbers of teachers while increasing the number of students in a single classroom. None of this is part of the recipe for effective education.

There is also little incentive to keep these kids in school because a high school education is nearly useless anymore. If a kid skates by with C's and D's in high school, their grades are usually too bad to get them into college or tech school. Even if they can get in someplace, they are 90% likely to drop out because college is too hard for them due to a lack of repeated chances and the workload.

Then, on top of failing to prepare kids for college, high schools don't provide vocational ed anymore either. Kids graduate from high school prepared to flip burgers and clean houses, but flipping burgers at McDonald's for minimum wage or cleaning houses for $1O an hour isn't going to pay the bills and feed a family. A lot would-be living wage jobs in factories want people who can program the machines they work with and living wage construction jobs require an ability to read blueprints and accurately do math.

So if you can't get a decent job with a high school education and you see your friends who try college flunk out and get saddled with loans they can't pay back, why finish high school or go to college? Illegal activities-- drugs, thievery, murder for hire, etc-- suddenly become viable alternatives. And don't go blaming welfare. Except in specific circumstances, there is no such thing as a welfare queen anymore. Federal laws limit the number of years an individual can stay on full public benefits and some states, including GA, have a lower limit on welfare time than the feds. In both cases, the full benefits limit is under five years total for a lifetime, excluding old age. The feds also have not given bonuses for each additional child since the mid-1990s. In fact, the vast majority of people getting public assistance are elderly people who rely on social security as their only income.

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 03/11/12 - 09:41 am
0
0
There are drug dealers
Unpublished

There are drug dealers because there's a demand for the trash which they peddle. If there was no demand, they would go out of business just like Circuit City and Borders. They're meeting that demand.

The problem of drug dealing will be eliminated when Americans overcome their fondness for pharmacological stimulation. Pushers are a visible sign of the pathetic sickness which eats at the heart of this country.

raul
5348
Points
raul 03/11/12 - 10:00 am
5
0
Is heroin not a problem

Is heroin not a problem anymore? If crack cocaine is the real problem, why not focus on that rather than weed?

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 03/11/12 - 10:04 am
8
0
Nearly 50% are for pot. Gee,

Nearly 50% are for pot. Gee, let me do the math and see if I can come up with a way to reduce arrests by nearly 50%, what could it possibly be?

avidreader
3392
Points
avidreader 03/11/12 - 10:27 am
7
0
bjphysics -- wonderful

bjphysics -- wonderful sentiment! Tax the growers, tax the distributors, tax the retailers, and voila! Big legal dollars and the boys on the block are out of business. Our populace was willing to vote out the BLUE laws many years ago and vote in Sunday alcohol sales recently. It seems the same people would be up for voting for the legal sale of weed.

It is a possibility that the street vendors can still survive with lower prices, but at least buyers will have an option -- a clean, fashionable tobacco store, or a trip to the hood. I say, let's do it.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 03/11/12 - 10:31 am
4
0
I take slight issue with this

I take slight issue with this statement "It’s imperative, Gay said, that residents do their part in getting rid of drug dealers.". Doesn't the housing authority and landlords in the area own some of the responsibility too? Many drug dealers are late teen / early 20 somethings that often aren't on a lease, in part, due to criminal background checks required for housing. Crack down on the legal residents that house thugs who shouldn't be there to begin with. Over occupying a residency is common in certain neighborhoods but there are laws to help combat the issue. Being poor should not equate to having to deal with criminals and drugs rampant in your community but if your neighbor decides to let their son, grandson, brother, boyfriend or whoever move in, the property managers should be doing more to prevent it.

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 03/11/12 - 11:00 am
6
0
Legalize marijuana. Tax it at

Legalize marijuana. Tax it at all levels at the same rates as alcohol or tobbacco with the funds earmarked for drug treatment or incarceration through a specialized court designed to deal with the disease of addiction.

Many if not most recreational drug and alcohol users do run the risk of addiction weather they know it or not. Using the funds that they have payed into for treatment or incarceration as appropriate just makes good sense.

col.cty voter
0
Points
col.cty voter 03/11/12 - 11:15 am
6
2
Wow ,Drugs are a problem in

Wow ,Drugs are a problem in east Augusta , who knew. Maybe we should tear down the projects and move the problems all over the county into neighborhoods where people actually pay their own way. nothing like walking to your mailbox to send your mortgage payment and looking at the purple house next door that the government is paying for. lol

Lori Davis
964
Points
Lori Davis 03/11/12 - 12:06 pm
3
0
Seenitb4, My thoughts

Seenitb4, My thoughts exactly. I can point out every drug house in Harrisburg and several have been running for years, as they run the decent people off.

Lori Davis
964
Points
Lori Davis 03/11/12 - 12:44 pm
5
1
There is a horrible drug

There is a horrible drug house within 50 yards of my home. The landlord is a seasoned landlord if you know what I mean and will not do anything to help with the situation. He is a Senior ad executive at Comcast. He has been told. RCSO does nothing as well. Gun shots fired all the time. People riding by and firing guns. Today I am posting a sign on the corner which will say,"Get your drugs at 1815 Jenkins St. Maybe the AC will come and take a picture of the sign and post it in the paper.

Bonkk
0
Points
Bonkk 03/11/12 - 12:58 pm
2
0
WOW! there are some great
Unpublished

WOW! there are some great minds on here, particulary Ms. Davis, Mr. Physics, Mr. retired army and Ms. SeenitB4. I visit family in California 5 or 6 times a year and here's how it works: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/mmp/pages/medical%20marijuana%20program.... This is the state dept of heath website. Please note that if you are caught driving a vehicle within 24 hours after smoking the substance you will be arrested and taken to jail. Pretty good rules, I think. Ms. Davis, i live in the western part of the town and I'm moving away from here pretty soon but I would vote for you if I could. You seem to be just what this town needs right now. Please send me an email so I can know where and how I can contribute to your campaign. Just promise that you will do your level best to pull Augusta, GA out of the dark ages ok? kthanksbye

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 03/11/12 - 01:02 pm
1
3
Every teen in Ghettobrook and

Every teen in Ghettobrook and Barton Village areas have access to weed and other drugs. Take a stroll around the neighborhoods nearest those high schools and take a whiff. People claim weed is harmless but its a #1 reason many cut class on a daily basis. Yet for some reason everyone ignores the problem so it continues year after year.

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 03/11/12 - 01:22 pm
2
0
I believe (and have been told

I believe (and have been told by more than one RCSO deputy) that law enforcement is cool with these places being hot spots because they know where it is. As opposed to it being spread throughout the county. That means it falls to the landlords and neighbors to put pressure on the offenders to get them to move.
The scary part of this equation is that these thugs will shoot you to defend their "business". The worst part is to think that this style of law enforcement is tolerated or even encouraged by the Sheriff.
Until we get a Sheriff with a "community policing" style this won't change...Didn't mean to make this a rant about Sheriff Strength, but until he is replaced expect to see this type of crime to continue to be isolated to particular areas....Hopefully one of the three candidates for the office will step forward and step up and bring the RCSO into the 21st century as it pertains to law enforcement, and forget the "reactionary" style so heavily favored by the current Sheriff...

Bonkk
0
Points
Bonkk 03/11/12 - 01:21 pm
7
0
underage kids should not be
Unpublished

underage kids should not be allowed to have access to weed the same as they shouldn't have access to alcohol.

Lori Davis
964
Points
Lori Davis 03/11/12 - 01:24 pm
6
1
Until drugs are legalized it

Until drugs are legalized it remains a dangerous situation for neighborhoods. I agree with Conservative Man. These thugs will shoot you over their territory. Enforce the law.

Bonkk
0
Points
Bonkk 03/11/12 - 01:55 pm
2
0
Ms. Davis--one thing I would
Unpublished

Ms. Davis--one thing I would like to ask of you. Can you please look into changing the way this state applies the law? Georgia is the only state in the nation that does not have infractions. Everything here is either a misdemeanor or a felony. That's crazy if you ask me. Going 56 mph in a 55 zone is a misdemeanor here. I swear I'm not making this up. Georgia should do what every other state has done--set a list of infractions--no jail time, fines only and you mail it in. This town's city council should NOT be passing laws that are misdemeanors or felonies. Your thoughts?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 03/11/12 - 01:40 pm
1
0
Kids in Augusta have access

Kids in Augusta have access to whatever they want. People are aware and do nothing. Part of the reason most areas have gone bad the way they have.

Lori Davis
964
Points
Lori Davis 03/11/12 - 01:56 pm
3
0
First, the drug dealers at

First, the drug dealers at 1815 Jenkins Street deal drugs in the parking lot behind the Child Development Center. If you want to know the owner's name, it is available on the Augusta Richmond County GIS.

Secondly,Bonkk, It is incredibly hard to change state code if we don't have a rep or senator that thinks it is worthwhile. I agree that a lot of money/revenue could be generated through fines in law enforcement as well as code enforcement. Why do all of these things have to go to court in order to levy a fine? It is archaic. If I am elected as a Commissioner, I will have a better seat at the table with our state lawmakers locally.

mike71345
75
Points
mike71345 03/11/12 - 02:19 pm
0
0
"The sheriff’s office defines

"The sheriff’s office defines east Augusta as the slice of Richmond County bordered by Laney-Walker Boulevard, Walton Way and the Savannah River."
What neighborhood is this? Was that supposed to say Gordon Highway instead of Walton Way?
What I take from this story is that "east Augusta" is Olde Town and East Augusta.

specsta
6631
Points
specsta 03/11/12 - 03:04 pm
5
0
All of those abandoned

All of those abandoned buildings should be razed with a bulldozer without delay. This city looks like a war zone with buildings collapsing from the roof down.

It is a public health issue and if the owners of the property can't be located, let the wrecking ball commence. It makes no sense for this city to look a shanty-town in the Third-World.

Lori Davis
964
Points
Lori Davis 03/11/12 - 03:38 pm
4
0
Bonkk, I am certainly not a

Bonkk, I am certainly not a well behaved woman when it comes to my personal safety. I also hate to see the same people in this town corner the market on everything because they know what is going to take place. I can get quite irate over that, and also those in city government who are looting money incredibly, and we can prove it....Hopefully my website will be in order by Tuesday. My paperwork is in and has been approved, ethicsga.gov. I think that is the website......Specsta, The first thing that needs to happen is to get rid of the long time code enforcement department head who has been there almost 30 years and has allowed this to happen under his watch. If codes had been vigorously enforced, we would not be in the state that we are in. It costs $5000 per property to raze. There is only $100,000 in the budget per year. I say change the codes and allow for on site fines collected by code enforcement and not in a court of law.

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 03/11/12 - 03:45 pm
4
2
Well, Lori Davis, since you

Well, Lori Davis, since you are aware if the activities at 1815 jenkins street, can you also tell us what choices this entrepeneur offers, quality of product and value for dolllars spent?

It's not that I don't believe what you are saying, but any damn fool could quote any damn address for anyone they had a beef with and start a whole bunch of trouble. And not just for the accused.

I hope you catch my meaning here. Vigilantism has definite drawbacks and is plain foolish in many instances. In my day, charges such as you have leveled demanded that you now be "cocked and locked" at all times.

I do not consider myself a coward, but in the same breath I damn sure ain't stoopid, at least I think not. Not saying you are(Sean take note)just saying I'm not.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/11/12 - 04:04 pm
3
0
"I do not consider myself a
Unpublished

"I do not consider myself a coward, but in the same breath I damn sure ain't stoopid, at least I think not. Not saying you are(Sean take note)just saying I'm not."

I agree. Not safe for YOU nor the people around Jenkins St.

Emotions don't help when trying to make a sound decision.

RCSO KNOWS. TRUST! Yet, you can't just run up on a known D. house all willy nilly...

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/11/12 - 04:05 pm
1
0
Lets go minister to these
Unpublished

Lets go minister to these dealers.

Uh, as far as being "shot over territory", have any LOCAL examples?

Conservative Man
5577
Points
Conservative Man 03/11/12 - 04:10 pm
2
2
iLove...."minister to these

iLove...."minister to these dealers?"....okay.....they're DEALERS. By definition they have no morals....may as well negotiate with a rattlesnake. You don't minister to rattlesnakes...you get rid of them....

Lori Davis
964
Points
Lori Davis 03/11/12 - 04:12 pm
3
0
These dealers have lived in 4

These dealers have lived in 4 separate places in Harrisburg, and have wreaked havoc everywhere they have been. RCSO is no help, so we have to get creative. I took a landlord to court to prove that citizens have no recourse with landlords who rent to drug dealers. I was right about the property that I took to court, and I am right about this one. Don't know where you live retired Army but I would be happy t hear what you would do to stop this. I will take all suggestions because nothing has worked in 5 years. Maybe a Writ of Mandamus would be in order to force RCSO to enforce the laws in this county.

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