Crime is issue for residents

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John Burton sees a lot of children playing out on the streets in his East Boundary neighborhood, but he worries that's not enough to keep them occupied.

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John Burton said East Boundary kids used to have a summer reading program nearby. Photographed at a laundromat East Boundry Monday afternoon August 1, 2011.  Carole Hawkins/Staff
Carole Hawkins/Staff
John Burton said East Boundary kids used to have a summer reading program nearby. Photographed at a laundromat East Boundry Monday afternoon August 1, 2011.

"I think we need some more activities for kids out here," he said. "There used to be a summer reading program at Underwood Homes and kids used to come there all day. But the money got cut."

He's not the only one who thinks East Boundary kids might need more to do.

A survey taken at a June block party shows residents think tutoring and mentoring for children is a program that would help the neighborhood. A total of 166 of 212 respondents picked it as a community need, followed by help learning how to get and maintain a job (155) and help learning ways to be a better parent/role model (135).

"This confirmed our suspicions," said Rick Keuroglian, one of the block party organizers.

Keuroglian directs Hope for Augusta, a faith-based youth mentoring program, and is president of the nearby Olde Town Neighborhood Association. One way he'd like to use the survey results is by partnering with nonprofits whose services match the residents' stated needs.

The survey asked East Boundary residents what services performed by nonprofits would be beneficial. But ask a resident more generally what the community needs, and the conversation switches very quickly to the area's crime problem.

Deborah Moss said her top worry is all the outside traffic that drives through her complex, River Glenn Apartments, bringing drugs and gunfire into the area. Her neighbor, Gabrielle Harris, agreed.

"It gets everyone scared. You just jump out of the bed and lay on the floor when you hear the gunfire," she said. "The police come, but they take forever."

Harris said a lot of young women living in the apartment complex would like to do better for their kids. They need help getting jobs and affordable child care, though.

East Boundary resident Towana Lewis said she sent her 15-year-old son to live with a sister in Evans because of the crime. She would like to see things change, but is skeptical that food banks, gang prevention groups and mentoring organizations will have an effect.

"A lot of people here don't want help," she said. "They've got to want it. If they want to get it, then it might change."

Burton said the block party survey contained many things East Boundary could use. But like his neighbors, he felt crime was the biggest problem.

"We probably need better security here, like some kind of neighborhood watch," he said.

Survey says

East Boundary residents were asked at a June block party what services they think would help the neighborhood. A total of 212 people responded, choosing the following:

- More tutoring and mentoring programs for children (166 respondents)

- Learn ways to get and maintain a job (155)

- Learn ways to be a better parent/role model (135)

- Adult literacy and education (127)

- Learn ways to help succeed in life (122)

- Learn ways to be a better person/neighbor (107)

Source: Day in the Community block party directors

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Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 08/05/11 - 01:52 am
Will A-RC help many of its

Will A-RC help many of its residents improve their respective neighborhoods or help a few residents and nonresidents improve their individual net worths?

bclicious 08/05/11 - 06:01 am
They always say that the

They always say that the first step in trying to solve one's problem is first admitting that you have a problem. Perhaps the citizens of Augusta are ready to accept that they have a crime problem, and are now ready to do whatever it takes to improve the situation.

I say let there be a meeting of the minds between beat cops and local citizens. 1 aspect of community policting that I have always liked is the deterence aspect. One way to encourage deterence is to saturate areas with both police, and neighborhood watch peoples. The best way to do this is to create an environment where criminals cannot walk 2 feet in a neighborhood without being harassed by both citizens and the police.

It definitely takes time and rapport between citizens and police before this objective can be accomplished. I would suggest 1 measure be implemented, that I found to be successful in other places. Since most Augusta citizens do not know the police officers who police their neighborhoods, I would suggest that each neighborhood get organized and find individual familes that are willing to have deputies over for dinner while they are on duty. This would allow the citizens to directly voice their concerns to the police, but it would also allow the deputies to directly explain what they need the citizens to do.

This would be a huge step in the right direction.

broad street narrow mind
broad street narrow mind 08/05/11 - 09:34 am
beat cops are wanted. good

beat cops are wanted. good idea, bclicious. also, what is involved in getting a child care co-op set up? i remember seeing places like that in other towns where parents take turns watching the kids at a dedicated house. maybe it could house some tutoring or reading programs too.

scgator 08/05/11 - 09:59 am
"A lot of people here don't

"A lot of people here don't want help," she said. "They've got to want it. If they want to get it, then it might change."

It appears that Towana Lewis is smarter than MOST people; I completely understand the need for these kinds of programs in any group today. And everywhere is suffering from budget cuts. However, Mr. John Burton, if you REALLY believe this strongly, then VOLUNTEER to do these things. This is one of the biggest problems in our society, irregardless of economic position......."It's not really that important unless you're paying me to do it". If the parents of kids feel they are being hindered by funding cut, then they need to band together and take care of the issue themselves; not everyone who lives in the East Boundary area is uneducated, lazy, or despondent. If you are only willing to "pick up the ball and play" when someone else pays for it, then you don't really care as much as you want people to believe.

I have a granddaughter who lives with us; and even though she knows who her real father is, she calls me Daddy. Why? She will tell you that it is because you are there for me......always. East Boundary residents, are you there for your kids???? Mr. Burton, what about you????

paulwheeler 08/05/11 - 11:23 am
I don't see pregnancy

I don't see pregnancy prevention in any of this discussion.
Lots of young mothers in these apartment complexes and no young about learning to be better parents(plural)/role models.

Asitisinaug 08/05/11 - 01:47 pm
If you are going to sit

If you are going to sit around and wait for the government to take care of you (under ANY leadership or party), then you might as well give up now.

If you want a reading program, you don't need government money you simply need a few good parents to start the volunteer program - heck, team up with Augusta State University and get it going.

If you want the neighborhood to look good, then form community clean up and organizational days - get sponsors such as Wal-Mart to help provide trash bags, paint, etc.

If you want less crime then start a true neighborhood watch program and notify the police each and every time of any problems such as trespassers, drinking alcohol in public, etc. and work with the police when they are present instead of ignoring them and the issues.

Child Care - take turns watching others children, work together to make things better and turn to your family as needed.

Bottom line is that you can sit around and wait for something positive to happen as the government is teaching you through all of these enabling programs or you can make something happen for yourself and your community. This country is now down to 48% of the people paying federal taxes so if you think the government is going to be able to sustain all of the needs of those waiting on help, especially those actually capable of helping their selves, you have another think coming.

Lori Davis
Lori Davis 08/05/11 - 02:15 pm
After returning home one

After returning home one night this week I called dispatch concerning a group of male loiterers at the Shell station by my house. They were in an area where the employees could not see them. I have always had an agreement with management at Shell that I would help with these issues. Employees have been told if they didn't call RCSO about loiterers, they would be fired. Th Officer came and basically told me that they were not bothering me so he was not going to do anything about it. I asked for a supervisor and got the situation handled. It takes persistence and a lot of people don't have it and give up.

david jennings
david jennings 08/05/11 - 03:47 pm
Why are there so many women

Why are there so many women with children and no fathers in sight?Now its everyones problem.Surely the women know who the father is.

raul 08/06/11 - 12:46 am
@asitisinaug. Well said.

@asitisinaug. Well said.

Riverman1 08/08/11 - 06:31 am
BClicious, excellent post

BClicious, excellent post concerning community policing, especially since you are in law enforcement. People have to know who THEIR officer is, trust him and work with him. That's the whole point of community policing that Ronnie (Whitey's friend) Strength doesn't get. He believes an officer only shows up with lights on when there is a crime. Prevention, prevention, prevention.

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