Media skew profile of Augusta crime

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The hype generated by the media over the past several months about murders in Augusta has inadvertently created a false impression about crime in our city.

The statistics on crime in 2010 are completed, and overall criminal offenses are down. Only two major categories were up in 2010 over 2009: Murders, which cannot be prevented or predicted, and burglaries were the only major areas of increase.

Commercial armed robberies were down, individual armed robberies were down, aggravated assaults were down and rapes and statutory rapes were flat for 2010.

Major media coverage on murders makes it sound as though crime in Augusta was increasing and out of control. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We ended last year with 37 murders. In years past we have had as many homicides or more than we had last year. In reviewing each case, there was only a handful of victims for whom drugs, gang activity or domestic violence did not play a part.

I have said many times during my career that if you are not selling drugs, buying drugs, involved in gang activity or domestic violence, your chances of being murdered are extremely slim.

I hope this clears up the negative feelings or impressions that some citizens of Augusta may have about crime in our community.

Ronnie Strength

Augusta

(The writer is sheriff of Richmond County.)

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usapatriot
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usapatriot 01/16/11 - 04:05 am
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well, I'm not in the drug

well, I'm not in the drug using or buying business, but those bullets flying around sometimes find unintended targets.

It's nice to know that numbers are decreasing, but they are only slightly decreasing from all time highs. Unemployment decreasing 10% now only means it goes from 10% to 9%.

Your numbers say there are 10.6 home/business burglaries per day. Per day. Is that acceptable?

Burglaries cost citizens and businesses money. Unrecouped money. Higher insurance for businesses. Perhaps closing of businesses. Perhaps citizens leaving Richmond County.

So murders are gang related. I hope they kill themselves all off.

10.6 burglaries a day. Is that acceptable?

CabisKhan
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CabisKhan 01/16/11 - 10:39 am
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I wish there was a list in

I wish there was a list in the paper of all of the 10,6 burglaries average per day in Augusta and other categories, instead of the highlighted crimes we get in the updates so the citizens can resolve a pattern for their neighborhood and perhaps get more involved in their protection-prevention as so many have suggested.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 01/16/11 - 11:30 am
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I understand Sheriff

I understand Sheriff Strength's wanting to emphasize that SOME of the worst types of crime are down. What he doesn't seem to understand is that burglaries, the crime that affects the most people, are up. Thus the perception that crime is up. And on top of that, the Sheriff's department seems to be moving toward ignoring this crime as if it is normal or acceptable. If your home is burglarized, a seemingly disinterested officer will show up sometime in the next hour or so after you report it and begrudingly write a report. No investigation, no finger prints, and you will never hear anything from them again. They really do not want to even show up. There is a move afoot to make burglaries a phone in report....about as casual an attitude as ordering a pizza.

The fact of the matter Sheriff Strength is that the crimes which affect "normal" citizens are up. If you take the total of people being mugged or armed robbed in parking lots, car jackings, home burglaries, home invasions, etc., crime is up. And these victims are not people taking part in drug related activities.

I agree that many of the murders and aggravated assaults are drug related and those are not my biggest fears. I, and many others, are more worried about being accosted and robbed/car jacked, or worse, in the mall or grocery store parking lot and/or having our homes burglarized while we are out or a home invasion while we are there. And the incidents of those kinds of crime, in total, are up. Not to mention things like the recent shooting of two teens getting off of a school bus. The statistics may say that aggravated assaults are down but there are still way too many.

I am not blaming the Sheriff or his department. I know their funds have been cut and they are furloughing deputies. But don't pee on my head and tell me it's raining by trying to put forth the idea that crime is down and everything is hunky dory. Sure, statistically SOME types of crime are down but SOME types of crime are up, way up. And the crimes that are up are the ones that affect the most people and in the places we have to be....our homes and the places we must go to do our shopping. So our perception is that crime is UP and perception is reality.

And one point the Sheriff makes is correct. The media always focus on the murders and other violent crime. But the crimes that affect the most of the people, the burglaries and other property crimes, get very little attention from the media...... and the Sheriff's department.

Much of the blame for rising property crimes goes to our court system. Many of the thieving little punks and thugs doing these burglaries and parking lot robberies have prior run-ins with the law and have been put on probation by our progressive judges. That immediately places them in the position of having to steal more in order to pay the probation contractor. It's self-sustaining system that only benefits the courts and the probation contractor...oh yeh, and the crooks. Don't let anyone tell you that the current system makes the crooks pay for their own probation. We, the victims of their next crimes, are paying for the contractor run probation system and it's kickback to the court system.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/16/11 - 12:02 pm
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It's all a matter of just

It's all a matter of just playing with the statistics as Strength says. As we can see the RCSO recently went over the figures again and reassigned certain crimes to different categories.

Maybe if we look at the homicides again we can reclassify some of those and have a lower murder rate, too. Some of them could have been suicide. Maybe a few were accidents. Maybe create a new category...severe battery?

We could do the same thing with burglaries and robberies or have we already started? Like the other night when the truck was robbed by the armed perpertators, they were only charged with entering a vehicle.

What crime in Augusta?

bailmeout4
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bailmeout4 01/16/11 - 01:16 pm
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My father's business has been

My father's business has been robbed at gunpoint 3 times in the last 12 months, most in 25 years.

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 01/16/11 - 02:16 pm
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True, generally murders

True, generally murders cannot be predicted nor is there an effective "pro-active" solution to them. But the sorts of property crimes that drive good people out of Richmond County, namely burglaries, are increasing. I feel it is because of an apathetic attitude about these sorts of crimes that begins at the very top of the RCSO.
I believe until Sheriff Strength begins to contemplate a different policing style such as community policing, this trend will continue.
Maybe it's time for the esteemed Mr. S. to retire and let someone with a 21st century approach to law enforcement take the helm.

Lori Davis
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Lori Davis 01/16/11 - 02:44 pm
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http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/ Th

http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/

This is a great website from the U.S. Dept. of Justice. This Department is advocating community policing and gives many examples of cities that have adopted this style and the difference that it is making. Scroll down and read about the VIPER program in Boca Raton. It is time for Augusta to move into the 21st Century. We can quibble over a few crime numbers one way or the other, but the truth remains. This city has HIGH crime and it needs to be addressed by those that we pay to keep us safe. When this happens, I believe that citizens will join in. If this does not happen, apathy will remain high and people will continue to leave Richmond County. We need a committment from law enforcement to do differently and to make the plan public.

Lori Davis
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Lori Davis 01/16/11 - 02:50 pm
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January 2010; 2 murders, 711

January 2010; 2 murders, 711 theft by taking. Which of these two statistics affect the most people? Yes, perception is reality. The one and only time I put my house on house watch while out of town, my husband's truck was broken into. Won't make that mistake again.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 01/16/11 - 04:24 pm
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Get off the sheriff's back,

Get off the sheriff's back, folks. He has limited resources because of a very limited budget. If you want to get into the 21st century suggest that our taxes be raised and allocated to his department.

follower
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follower 01/16/11 - 04:25 pm
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Although he hasn't posted on

Although he hasn't posted on today's forum, "Chillen" has said over and over, and I agree, that the burglaries are only going to get worse with the economy as it is. Knowing the Sheriff personally, I can assure you he is not apathetic to any crime of any category.

Are not most communities in this country seeing an increase in burglaries? And while it may be a preferred technique to place officers in neighborhoods, with a decrease in budget, how do you suggest he implement such a program?

The police cannot be everywhere at every minute. Neighborhoods and individuals will have to step up the personal accountability, and not hide or turn a blind eye to the perpetrators. The policy at my house is in place.

Dear Mr. Criminal: If you get by the 130lb dog and the alarm, make sure you have on your person which funeral home you prefer.

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 01/16/11 - 05:09 pm
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Get off the Sheriff's

Get off the Sheriff's back?...Last time I checked, my hard earned tax dollars pay his salary. I'll bark as often and as loudly as I choose. Bottom line. He is the head of the RCSO. It's HIS job to make sure he has strategies and policies in place to deal with issues such as we (the few remaining homeowners left) in Richmond Co. are facing. The last thing I want to hear is a lecture from the Sheriff on why we just need to accept dozens of burglaries a month. If he embraced better policing methods (which cost nothing by the way), I'd be more inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. As it stands now...not so much.

follower
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follower 01/16/11 - 05:35 pm
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Corporal, you certainly have

Corporal, you certainly have the right to gripe as much as you want. I stand for your right to disagree. But as quickly as the sheriff's office arrest 'em, the courts let them go. That's his fault? If you systematically remove the bad guys, should not at one point there be less bad guys on the street? Not if it's a revolving door.

We've got close to enough officers, but not near enough tent style jails that are cheap to house the idiots that couldn't care less about following the law. Sandwiches, shovels, pink underwear, tents with no A/C, sleeping on cots. I hate it for them [not really], but prisoners shouldn't have better conditions than the men and women that fight for our country. You lose your rights when you infringe on others rights.

As it is now, criminals don't mind a stay in jail. Make it terrible enough for them not to want to go back.

There are already enough "feel good" programs being funded federally that haven't worked and won't work. Nothing substitutes for a real mom and dad that truly love their kids and are willing to say "NO" to unacceptable behavior and mete out discipline when needed.

You're asking the sheriff to do the job that parents should have done. It's the same scenario in the classroom where teachers are expected to be surrogate mothers to the students. Hold the sperm donors and egg carriers responsible for the children they bring into this world.

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 01/16/11 - 05:59 pm
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You make some great points

You make some great points follower. I agree that the courts are a major problem when it comes to crime. Also parents should do more. I also realize no single solution exists to this problem. I just try to highlight certain areas that I feel could be addressed more directly and more immediately. A change in law enforcement tactics being one of these areas.
Granted, government officials can't correct all the ills of modern society. It's when they seem to turn a deaf ear to the pleadings of law abiding citizens that I (and MANY others in Richmond Co.) become outraged and demand action. This seems to be where we are today.
Again, an excuse from someone in a position of power as to why their job isn't getting done means nothing to me. Tell me what you WILL do instead of what you CAN'T do.

Carleton Duvall
6305
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Carleton Duvall 01/16/11 - 07:34 pm
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Gripweed, you seem to have

Gripweed, you seem to have all the answers. Why don't you run for sheriff the next time around . I will feel much safer and will sleep much better knowing that you are in charge. It is easy to find fault sitting in your easy chair in front of your computer while the sheriff's department is trying to cover the county with a limited number of underpaid deputies. No, I am not a friend or relative of anyone in the department.

trimmy
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trimmy 01/16/11 - 11:30 pm
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Citizens will have to protect
Unpublished

Citizens will have to protect themselves because it looks as if our gov't is not able to do it. "Get tough and keep your stuff".

iLove
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iLove 01/17/11 - 10:22 am
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nowhine, do you have some
Unpublished

nowhine, do you have some numbers I could look at to support what you are saying?

"If the black people will not help the Sheriff, they must approve of it"

Why are ALL black people always put into the same pot?

AND what is black on black crime???
So Hitler's crimes were white on white crime?
What about JFK?
What about the DC Sniper?
What about Mexican drug killings and crimes?
What about Asian gang killings?

Crime is crime PERIOD

There never is an outcry for the white people to take care of "their" crime problem, so why the double standard?

"When it rains, it doesn't fall on one man's house."
"When it rains, it doesn't fall on one man's house."
"When it rains, it doesn't fall on one man's house."

IMHO, the term "black on black crime" is not even a term. . .moreso a made-up buzzword. Think.

Stand up against ALL crime.

AutumnLeaves
7806
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AutumnLeaves 01/18/11 - 11:54 am
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I just drove down Lumpkin

I just drove down Lumpkin Road about 10:10am and as I was passing Augusta Tech Drive I heard a gunshot so loud I startled very badly. That is near the same neighborhood I was calling in about gunshots coming from the neighbor's yard behind my house. Asking them to stop doing it is not sufficient. They continued to do it, so we moved. I didn't call this one in because I was driving and there were plenty of people living nearby, that should call it in out of concern for their own safety. I just hope it wasn't that poor man at the convenience store nearby that was being shot at or having to shoot someone trying to rob him. He's been robbed there before. When people start getting away with the small things, like shooting off guns for no apparent reason, it's just practice for escalating to bigger things. Why wait for it to escalate to armed robberies and murder? We moved from that area, but we still have to drive through it. I don't relish the thought of being hit by an "errant" bullet. All crimes, misdemeanors and code violations affect persons' sense of safety in a city/county. I don't feel safe.

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