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Harrisburg meeting focuses on neighborhood crime

Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 12:29 PM
Last updated Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 12:25 AM
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Woody Merry started a community meeting on Harrisburg crime by asking how many people have heard gunshots in their neighborhood.


A flurry of hands went up.

“The community as a whole is scared,” said Merry, a longtime Augusta community activist.

About 40-50 members of the Harrisburg com­munity met over breakfast Thursday to discuss ways to take back their neighborhood.

For starters, Merry recommended that all residents take a self-defense class.

Richmond County sheriff’s Deputy Rob Blandinburg, who owns a martial arts school in Augusta and frequently responds to calls in Harrisburg, demonstrated simple self-defense techniques with the promise to teach more classes for free in the community.

“I know how dangerous it is walking around at night in this community,” Blandinburg said. “I carry a gun, and I’m still a little worried.”

Merry said the community is going to employ new tactics that will not only cut down on crime but will provide a template for other neighborhoods to follow.

The community accepted donations to purchase surveillance and dash-cams to place around the neighborhood.

In addition, neighbors will be using images and videos captured from the cameras and other devices to post to Facebook and a neighborhood Web site alerting others of suspicious people and vehicles. Also, images of blighted properties and contact information for their owners will be posted.

Merry said one of the plans is to build a database of license plates of vehicles that don’t belong there.

Residents will also be taking to the streets to help in enforcement.

“We’re not trying to engage anybody,” Lori Davis, a Harrisburg activist and former mayoral candidate, said to the crowd. “We’re just trying to write down what is wrong.”

Susan Rabon, a 12-year resident who has been a victim of crime in Harrisburg, said she hopes to see a change in the neighborhood but fears some of the new tactics could be misused.

“The citizens need to empower themselves, but we need to go about it carefully,” she said.

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F4therTime 10/25/12 - 01:01 pm
He carries a gun...

and is still worried in much for someone's glowing account of how safe that part of Augusta is. Until a fierce stand is made Augusta's crime areas will continue unabated. Elect Roundtree and it will be even worse.

Jane18 10/25/12 - 02:06 pm
Neighborhoods with Hoods(hoodlums)

I understand when fear is someones reason for not wanting say something, but, that has to be overcome, and that will have to come from strong individuals and law enforcement with whatever reassurance it will require. What I cannot understand is how anyone can use the excuse of "I'm not a snitch". A snitch is almost a childish term, like a "tattle-tale". These people committing crimes do not care one little bit for residents of a neighborhood. They only care for themselves and their drugs and money. You are nothing, even if you do business with them, they would step on you just to go across the street. Just like garbage is picked up and taken to the dump, help law enforcement get the "garbage" out of your neighborhood..........

JRC2024 10/25/12 - 11:45 pm
I had a LT. on the sheriffs

I had a LT. on the sheriffs department tell me that if Rountree is elected the department would fall apart because he has no leadership abilities. Vote for someone with some sense-Mr. Sanders.

seenitB4 10/26/12 - 08:23 am
AMEN to that jrc

Vote for someone with some sense-Mr. Sanders.

soapy_725 10/26/12 - 08:31 am
From one caring citizen to another....

if law enforcement does not support your "neighborhood" efforts, the efforts are in vain. You can be prosecuted for taking pictures of other "citizens" without their permission. Even if they are committing a crime. Photo Waivers. You can be charged with "stalking". You can be arrested for your noble efforts.

As far as tag numbers, it will depend on who's tag your photograph or document. The drug buyers will most likely be affluent teenagers and they will not be perused. The many who masquerade as police snitches and deal drugs will not be pursued.

Police need to see the crime. And sometimes that will not help. If they see the wrong person or persons daughter committing a crime.

From cable TV we have learned the woes of Neighborhood Watches?

Until an aggressive police presence 24/7 takes shape in Harrisburg or Westlake, the crime element will continue to "stay". Westlake has a guarded gate. If a business is making money in Harrisburg, why move?

A concerned mayor, commissioner and other leaders would move to Harrisburg to show support and get first hand experience.

Been there. Told to take pictures. Then told to not take pictures. OOPS. Call the police, let us see the crime in action. Let us determine if the criminal is the child of a Westlake resident. Police cannot share tag number info with citizens. So you do not personally know who is the enemy.

Form a Neighborhood Watch. You need about 75% of residents to show interest. Those interested need to share very personal information with the rest of the neighborhood, OOPS. Where is Mr. Roger when we need him?

soapy_725 10/26/12 - 08:34 am
Vote for Freddie

and a police presence. Make crime unprofitable in Harrisburg and all of ARC.

rebellious 10/26/12 - 09:02 am

is Mr. Law and Order. I am sure the residents appreciate Mr. Merry's efforts and attentions. I am doubtful of the results. Kinda similar to Trumps telling everyone his big announcement would change the course of the election, then it felll flat as a publicity stunt. For once I agreed with Barbara Walters that Trump shoud shut up and sit down. But if lighting one candle is better than cursing the dark, it appears Mr Merry has his hand in pocket looking for the lighter.

Vote Freddie Sanders for Sheriff. He will not be giving second chances at the point of arrest. He leaves that delegated duty to the Judges.

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