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Augusta authorities say recent videos paint inaccurate picture of violence

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:51 PM
Last updated Thursday, May 16, 2013 7:08 AM
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At the first sign of violence, people appear to be reaching for their phones, not to call 911, but to record the incident.



A series of Augusta videos, including several posted last week on social media Web sites such as YouTube, went viral, but police say they inaccurately paint a picture of increased violence.

In February, there was a video of teenage girls beating one another and snatching each other by the hair at Augusta Mall, which spawned debates about mall safety.

A brawl on Broad Street again raised concerns about downtown safety after it surfaced just days after a couple was brutally beaten on Riverwalk Augusta and a man was beaten and robbed outside a Broad Street bar. The fight involved several people and ended in gunfire.

Last week, another video caught employees at a local Waffle House fighting and pulling each other’s hair.

Those aren’t the only ones. A Web search of “Augusta, GA fights” shows videos of brawls at fast-food and club parking lots, Broad Street, Meadowbrook, Sunset Homes, Magnolia Park and even the parking lot of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Some have collected tens of thousands of page views.

Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew acknowledged that the videos offer a disturbing view of Augusta, but he said there hasn’t been an increase in violence, just more cellphones that can record these incidents for the Web.

“We answer calls to fights all the time all over the city,” Chew said.

According to a 2012 Pew study on cellphone use, about 85 percent of people own a cellphone and about 44 percent frequently use their phone to take videos, an increase of nearly 30 percent since 2007.

Most of the fights can involve 10 or more people but are fairly short and have cleared up by the time police arrive – if they are called at all. After they respond, it’s unusual to get anyone to talk about what happened.

“If they never bring it to our attention, then we can’t do anything about it,” Chew said. “We need someone to report it.”

Augusta isn’t the only Georgia city getting unwanted attention on the Web. A search of fights in Savannah, Athens, Columbus and Valdosta shows similar results in parking lots, downtown and housing areas.

“It looks like an unusual amount, but they’re been going on for years,” Chew said. “Even when I was on the road patrol I responded to fights.”

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nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 05/16/13 - 06:51 am
12
1
Let me see if I got this

Let me see if I got this right
Videos are good when the Government uses them to convict people.
But Videos are bad when it shows the crime in action and Government falling down on the job?

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 05/16/13 - 07:06 am
0
0
ok now all of a sudden people
Unpublished

ok now all of a sudden people shoudl disregard what they see..."it aint so bad downtown, the people who were assualted on riverwalk and the people stomped on (both by a bunch of apes, monkeys, or gorillas) by thugs and criminals this was just a one time occurrance, it is safe downtown at night"..of course folks with common sense knows that is false all one needs to do is study the location of downtown..it is surrounded by the worse areas of the county as well as government projects inhabited by rats, roaches, vermin, welfare moochers, leeches, and parasites who migrate downtown to do nothing more than rob people of their cash and belongings....

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 05/16/13 - 07:43 am
7
2
Increase or decrease?

If you made it much past 7th grade you probably know that observation of specific instances of anything have nothing to do with the frequency of their occurrence. I think that most folks will appreciate that we have a very large number of people in Richmond County who do not embrace what most would consider "middle class" cultural norms. That is to say we have a lot of people who will willing engage in fights, theft, and other poor behavior without a second thought and do not see such behavior in others as an issue. The police are not a substitute for the enforcement of social mores by the community. They cannot be everywhere, all the time. (I suspect that most people wouldn't want that anyway.) Until a lot more of the citizens of RC begin to express their disapproval of this type of behavior, we will continue to see these instances of antisocial behavior. Community leaders across the county need to step up to the plate and begin to use the hammer of social disapproval to help correct these issues.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 05/16/13 - 08:45 am
3
1
Bulldog is totally correct in

Bulldog is totally correct in saying - observation of specific instances of anything have nothing to do with the frequency of their occurrence.

However, The average person will tend to remember visual stimuli as perceived commonality. Example: I remember the date of the Waffle House Overweight Mini Skirt Fight of July 2012. (YOUTUBE).

That video and others still has me 2nd guessing whether to stop to eat at Waffle Houses when we are out shopping after 8pm.

Now imagine, Downtown Augusta with 100's of cameras and the visual stimuli that will be captured that goes unreported everyday because it is not adverse. Next think of the legal FOIA, OPEN RECORDS requests and lots of Video Voyeurs looking for things to negatively use against Augusta Downtown or someone downtown.

Riverman1
93481
Points
Riverman1 05/16/13 - 08:52 am
1
2
No Worse Than Usual

It's not comforting to hear it's no worse than usual. But he is probably right. I get the feeling crime has been down this year. Certainly the murder rate has dropped dramatically.

rdbike
68
Points
rdbike 05/16/13 - 09:02 am
6
2
Downtown being safe

Downtown Augusta hasn't been safe after dark in decades. Too many thugs and too many places for them to hide. Add to that a law enforcement system with too many overweight deputies that doesn't stand a chance in a foot race with the criminal element. All that adds up to a very unsafe area to be in. Patrol cars can't get you everywhere you need to go!

Little Lamb
48963
Points
Little Lamb 05/16/13 - 09:05 am
5
1
Troubling

What is troubling to me is that the sheriff department spokesman first told the press that no one called the department and they didn't know anything about it. Then, days later, they sheepishly produced a report of the fight supposedly written on the night it occurred.

Dixieman
17302
Points
Dixieman 05/16/13 - 09:49 am
4
1
I GOT A VIDEO OF MY POINTS!

Yeah, right. Who are you going to believe -- the "authorities" or your own lying eyes?
Wishful thinking ain't going to make this very, very serious problem go away.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 05/16/13 - 09:54 am
3
7
downtown= safe

rdbike.. The crime stats of the Central Business District show the area is sae.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 05/16/13 - 10:02 am
0
0
The people that made this facetious claim are
Unpublished

probably smoking reefer!

itsanotherday1
48264
Points
itsanotherday1 05/16/13 - 10:21 am
5
2
Bulldog very accurately

Bulldog very accurately describes the root of the problem, and at the same time tells you why it won't change much unless the demographics do.

Just My Opinion
6251
Points
Just My Opinion 05/16/13 - 10:26 am
3
2
Well, on one hand, Bulldog

Well, on one hand, Bulldog (great name BTW!) is absolutely correct. There has ALWAYS been violence, it's just being documented more frequently and easily nowadays. For example, there have ALWAYS been tornados, but the video that the news channels have available now makes it seem like these are happening all the time. Further, back in 1900, the only way you'd hear about a tornado is when it eventually made the paper...so it didn't seem as frequent.
However, another issue to play here is the NUMBER of violent cases like these that are occurring and WHY. Social media, TV, movies, video games...all those things, experts say, contribute to the increased acts of violence that we are seeing...and all that comes from visual stimulation, lack of empathy, abscence of actual conclusion, etc.. In other words, this part of the issue is up for discussion for another day and another time. Right now, let's just be glad that there IS another way for the authorities to make their cases.

fenn138
5
Points
fenn138 05/16/13 - 11:37 am
3
0
If a picture...

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth 24,000 words per second.

laro247
132
Points
laro247 05/16/13 - 12:06 pm
7
2
I watched every youtube video

I watched every youtube video I could find on augusta fights. It is, with the exception of one video, exclusivly a "black race" thing. The black community needs to own up to their violence and do something about it.

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 05/16/13 - 02:00 pm
2
2
It Has To Be Reported...

...to be a statistic.

We are dealing with a perception and based on the viral videos of the fights and the brutal mugging of the couple on Riverwalk, a perfect perception is being formed that Augusta is unsafe. All the explanations and statistics mean nothing when compared to a picture or a video. In the opinion of non-Augustans and maybe some Augustans (based on pictures and video), Augusta is a crime ridden city where street gangs rule and citizens tremble.

To reverse this perception will require a coordinated plan between the county government and the RCSO to change this perception. This calls for significantly increasing the presence of the police in the CBD (as Countyman refers to downtown). If this doesn't happen, there will be fewer patrons downtown and in the end less convention and retail business.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 05/16/13 - 04:55 pm
2
4
Laro247... You can go on

Laro247... You can go on youtube, and find people of all races behaving badly. The majority of working class/poor residents living in Richmond County are black.

Badmoon... Do you put Seattle, Austin, Boston, etc in the same light? Three cities with low crimes rates, but several disturbing videos on youtube.

Google Maps includes the Central Business District, and it's not just me using the term.
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=augusta+ga+central+business+distric...

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 05/16/13 - 05:46 pm
2
1
BTW when was the last time

BTW when was the last time

we had a large group of Whites or Asians and Hispanics have a GANG fight on Broad St.?

Gage Creed
19385
Points
Gage Creed 05/16/13 - 07:20 pm
0
0
From The Chronicle

From The Chronicle 6/12/2012...

"Police said Bryant Keith Willerson fatally beat another homeless man, William McLain, 63, at the old Days Inn property at 444 Broad Street."

gargoyle
20720
Points
gargoyle 05/17/13 - 05:59 pm
1
0
Drive By Police

Drive By Enforcment of the peace will never work in a crowd .A policeman in the crowd shuts down bad situations before they get out of hand,a stare from a police car only lasts till the brake lights vanish.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 05/17/13 - 06:47 pm
2
0
Video Violence
Unpublished

Even Rondey King, dead of drug abuse poor soul, said" Next time you see me getting the heck beat out of me, throw down the camera, and get me some help" and he should know. We allow such violence by not voting. We allow this thuggery down town and all over town by forgetting that "We the People" are the authorities. If you vote with your money by leaving downtown, and for that matter, Augusta, one day the folks there will learn. With nothing left but drug addicts and bums, Augusta will rot out completely.

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