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Data show few violent crimes in area of First Friday in Augusta since January

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Since January, 11 serious violent crimes have occurred in the downtown area that the sheriff cited as the main location of First Friday, according to crime data The Augusta Chronicle collects each week from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Those crimes consisted of aggravated assaults and robberies.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Ronnie Strength told a group worried about the safety and the future of First Friday that there
isn’t a crime problem in the area. The July 6 shooting that injured six people on Broad Street was an abnormality, Strength
said, in the downtown area bordered by Reynolds, Greene, Fourth and 13th streets. The shootings were included in the crime data.

In the entire Central Business District set by the 911 Emergency Center, which stretches as far as the Savannah River to Laney-Walker Boulevard and Walton Way, there were 50 violent
crimes, topping those in all of Augusta’s emergency response areas.

Strength said that area is much larger than what he sees as the area visited by First Friday participants.

The sheriff said this year’s violent crimes downtown included a Jan. 5 robbery in which the victim said he was accosted by two men who accused him of owing $180 from crack cocaine and took his house key and cellphone; a Feb. 13 assault in which the victim said a woman he knew kicked in his door and cut his hand with a knife; and a man found Feb. 25 at Broad and 11th streets bleeding from stab wounds.


A look at some of the incidents in the Central Business District reported to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office this year:

Burglaries/robberies 35

Drug-related 7

Aggravated assaults 4

Homicides 1


See where violent crimes have occurred in the city of Augusta in the past year.

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1SGEssick 07/19/12 - 07:54 pm
How many is a few

and how many are too many? A dozen "serious" violent crimes is still one every 2 weeks. Wednesday's Chronicle cited Sheriff Strength as indicating over 100 non-trivial crimes over the last 6 months (296 calls, 194 misdemeanors). That is nearly 1 every other day!

First it was the media's fault and now there really isn't a problem. Maybe Sheriff Strength is the problem. Here's hope that Augusta/Richmond County chooses a new Sheriff who will put citizen safety at the top of his priority list.

David Parker
David Parker 07/20/12 - 01:20 pm
17 wounded in Tuscaloosa,

17 wounded in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (pop. 90,000)
12 dead / 50 wounded in Aurora, Colorado (pop. 330,000)

since the Broad Street incident.

CSRA population is hovering around a half a million no?

Whether you want to call it dangerous or perilous, our downtown isn't a death trap and the Savannah isn't the River Styx. Not when comparing to other 2nd tier cities. But I hate to use that type of arguement. Augusta should realize itself and set the bar higher, not because we want to be better/safer than the next town, but because we are one of a kind.

KSL 07/20/12 - 10:29 am
Statistics don't mean a

Statistics don't mean a thing if you are the victim of the crime.

Well said, dichotomy.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 07/20/12 - 10:58 am
Short Timer

Now that the sheriff is retiring, I suppose we had better get used to 'shoot-from-the-hip' statements from him, instead of the thoughtful and measured statements we used to get. After the shooting, the sheriff first said things were out of control and really bad downtown. He fumed about nobody being in charge of First Friday, whatever that means. Then but a few days later, the sheriff tried to do a little damage control by saying that downtown Augusta is really, really, really safe and there is nothing to worry about, offering up statistics to bolster his claim. Perhaps reality lies somewhere between his two statements.

HighSociety 07/20/12 - 11:32 am
Dichotomy, I agree 100%! It's

Dichotomy, I agree 100%! It's great to see something other than complaining and pointing fingers.

Riverman1 07/21/12 - 11:25 am
Why So Many Calls and Few Arrests?

Another poster commented that she had heard there were 120,000 incidents and calls that resulted in police cars being dispatched. For that many officers to have responded to incidents there were few arrests it seems to me. Also the old city, urban area has a small population, the CBD even smaller.

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