Who will stand up for a safe Harrisburg?

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The Board of Directors of the Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association would like to use this forum to call on our city leaders to come up with a plan to shut down two known drug houses that have been allowed to operate in the Harrisburg community for many years.

We are doing all that we can as community leaders to make our neighborhood a safe and desirable place to live. We have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and do not understand why this situation continues to exist in our historic neighborhood -- or any other Richmond County neighborhood, for that matter. We have exhausted all logical, reasonable and sensible ways of trying to get this madness to stop.

We believe as long as children continue to grow up in undisturbed criminal environments, they are doomed to repeat what they see around them.

Chronicle letter writers often quote the famous words of Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Are there any "good men" left among us? We need a hero in local government to do the right thing. Who is going to be this hero?

Lori Davis

Augusta

(The writer is president of the Harrisburg-West End Neighborhood Association.)

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Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 07/25/11 - 10:18 pm
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The primary function of

The primary function of government is the protection of its citizens,

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/26/11 - 01:00 am
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you would think so Craig, but

you would think so Craig, but in Augusta it's more like the primary function of government is the protection of their cronies.

Brad Owens
4859
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Brad Owens 07/26/11 - 12:31 am
0
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We need action on this crime

We need action on this crime issue and we need it NOW!

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 07/26/11 - 04:53 am
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Let a drug house move into

Let a drug house move into Summerville and see what would happen.

H---, some Summerville residents fought doggedly against even a child care center, much less a drug house.

blues550
380
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blues550 07/26/11 - 05:41 am
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Not to worry. The Kroc Center
Unpublished

Not to worry. The Kroc Center will take care of this.

Lori Davis
968
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Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 06:15 am
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We as Harrisburg Leaders are

We as Harrisburg Leaders are out of options other than a Writ of
Mandamus to force local leaders to do their jobs. Last time I checked, drug trafficking was illegal. Until drugs are legalized, we have to follow our laws put forth by man. The fall out from this mass industry in Augusta affects us all. Many of you have commented over the years that you too know of drug houses in your own neighborhoods. I am calling on all leaders of Richmond County to start caring about what goes on around you. Do we care about our offspring or have we decided that all of this is a way of life for our city. This way of life is going to continue to destroy this county. I've heard every excuse as to why this madness can not be stopped. We will never stop it, but often intervention of some type is a must on the community level. We need to find a way to show zero tolerance for this type of behavior. When local law enforcement decides to take the houses of the landlords who have been told over and over about the behavior on their properties, I believe we will begin to see a change. This is a legal option that I have yet to see used in this county.

shrimp for breakfast
5503
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shrimp for breakfast 07/26/11 - 07:01 am
0
0
Lori you mean if you call the

Lori you mean if you call the police and tell them about drug activity in a certain house they still do nothing?
I have only lived in Augusta for a little over a year but where I come from if you called the cops on a house you suspected of illegal activities they would be on it in a heartbeat.
Maybe things are just different here.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/26/11 - 07:56 am
0
0
shrimp...things are different

shrimp...things are different here.

seenitB4
93942
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seenitB4 07/26/11 - 08:22 am
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Many people are upset with

Many people are upset with the crime in Richmond county----thank you Lori ....we need vocal leaders---the wake-upcall is coming---
If you pay taxes in Richmond county YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO A SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD-----don't buy ANY excuse!

Lori Davis
968
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Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 08:27 am
0
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Shrimp for b-fast, It is way

Shrimp for b-fast, It is way different here. We have been fighting the same drug houses for 3-4 years now. Same people, same owners.

Riverman1
90855
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Riverman1 07/26/11 - 08:58 am
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0
My suggestion. If you want

My suggestion. If you want police protection in Richmond Cty, you are encouraged to pay officers for specials. Have the willing residents chip in and hire an officer to stay in that little building y'all made and occasionally patrol around the area. Maybe you can find one of the officers who takes an interesting in stopping some of the things you describe. If you find someone like him, pay him more and keep him there much as possible.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 07/26/11 - 09:11 am
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0
somewhat related to crime but
Unpublished

somewhat related to crime but strongly related to blight: would that $175k or so of unused sales tax money have been better used for demolition than buying that old bank?

dorisday
0
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dorisday 07/26/11 - 09:14 am
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0
Maybe if the landlords of

Maybe if the landlords of these drug houses got arrested, they would care more about who lived on their properties.

Lori Davis
968
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Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 09:15 am
0
0
Riverman, Great idea, but

Riverman, Great idea, but why should we have to do this? Why is the law not enforced? I have my own ideas about this I can assure you. I already pay enough in taxes and in this economy, I personally do not have extra cash for this type of thing. Also, there are only 290 or so homeowners left in Harrisburg out of 2300 houses. Half of the home owners left can't even afford to keep their grass cut. RCSO needs to do their job, period.

Lori Davis
968
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Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 09:19 am
0
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dorisday, State law protects

dorisday, State law protects landlords. When they rent their properties, they have fully departed with them and are not liable for what they do not know about. There are laws that can be used if there is proof that a landlord knows about illegal activity on his property and does nothing about it. Believe me, we have contacted every landlord over and over. They know.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/26/11 - 09:59 am
0
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nuisance abatement laws have

nuisance abatement laws have been used with great success all over the country. Does anyone remember what Times Square was like over 20 years ago? Wanna know how Times Square was transformed into the family friendly and safe attraction that it is today? The strict enforcement of nuisance abatement laws. For whatever reason, Augusta and the state of Georgia is still decades behind the rest of the country on this issue. Any chance that a member of the local state delegation will introduce legislation to bring our nuisance abatement laws into the 21st century?

countyman
21303
Points
countyman 07/26/11 - 10:53 am
0
0
The police have to catch the

The police have to catch the criminals in the act of selling drugs.. Narcs usually drive around the house or park down the road from the house. They want to catch the highest amount of criminals during the process as possible.. Cops want to make sure if the criminals are small time street dealers. Or do they get their work aka drugs from a well connected dopeboy or even maybe cartels.. Gwinnett County right outside of Atlanta is home to the major drug cartels in Georgia..

If the police kick the door down and there's a small amount of drugs. The person will be bailed out a few hours later and receive probation.. The criminal will then setup a traphouse somewhere else in Augusta and move the problem..

Broadstreet.. You can't use money leftover from Splost to demolished homes where people are living.. Unless both of the drug houses are empty.. If I'm not mistaken splost funds can't be used to demolish houses either..

Riverman1
90855
Points
Riverman1 07/26/11 - 11:13 am
0
0
"If I'm not mistaken splost

"If I'm not mistaken splost funds can't be used to demolish houses either.."

Yeah, it says it right there in paragraph B subsection 2. Heh.

Lori, of course the county SHOULD provide police protection for you folks paying property taxes, but I'm being a realist here. Augusta Mall pays a tremendous amount in taxes, yet hires their own security. Unfortunately, the tax payers don't see the police while those who pay nothing deal with them daily.

shrimp for breakfast
5503
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shrimp for breakfast 07/26/11 - 11:31 am
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0
Wow this is amazing. I just

Wow this is amazing. I just don't understand. The Police are paid to enforce the laws. All they would have to do is stake the place out until they have probable cause then get a search warrant from a judge and go in and make arrests. At least that's how other cities do it. I just wonder what their reasoning is for letting a drug house fester for years while law abiding citizens shout at the top of their lungs for something to be done. Is there a law protecting drug dealers that I don't know about?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/26/11 - 11:37 am
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0
shrimp...I've been wondering

shrimp...I've been wondering the same thing. Makes no sense to me.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 07/26/11 - 12:10 pm
0
0
Lori, I applaud your

Lori, I applaud your continuous efforts to wage war not only on the criminals, but also city officials/law enforcement who allegedly allow such activities to take place.

If there are two houses in Harrisburg dealing drugs and local law enforcement and city officials are informed and are not willing to do anything to shut them down, we have more than one serious problem. Illegal drug house, one; and corrupted city officials/law enforcement, two.

I know you have been at this for a long time and may have done everything conceivable, but just wanted to ask about a few ideas.

Have you tried to contact Ronnie Strength and asked for a meeting, if so, did you get a response?

Do you have a primary contact with local drug enforcement; I suggest Patrick Clayton, 706-724-9021.

Have you considered going over local law enforcement, contacting GBI, or FBI officials for guidance. The FBI has an office on Broad Street.

Have you considered asking for media help, an investigative reporter?

Local commissioner for the district, local Representative, Congressman?

Has the Harrisburg Homeowners Association considered a law suit against the city?

Can we have more information regarding those contacted, responses and reasons for not pursuing this matter?

The only way you are going to get a different response, is to continue doing something differently and keeping up the pressure, relentlessly.

I also suggest keeping a log, date, time, person, conversational notes.

The editorial page is a great start.

RELENTLESSLY, and continuously will be the key.

Lori Davis
968
Points
Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 12:15 pm
0
0
Countyman, How long should

Countyman, How long should all of this take? One house has been operating over a decade. Also, if enforcement of laws was strong enough all over this county, the criminals would have to leave. Problem solved for us. Let other citizens in other counties work as hard as we have to take care of their own areas. Nothing being done is reaching the point of criminal. The occupant of the second drug house in question has literally run everybody off his block who does not protect him. His next door neighbor worked for our Mayor's family. She left a long time ago after she could not get help. I contacted the Mayor about this. He never responded. Maybe he will be our hero. We as citizens want to see something significant accomplished. To H....with a new baseball stadium. Oh, and by the way Countyman, the occupant of one of the houses has already been arrested for trafficking Cocaine. Don't believe he would be one back on the street in two hours.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/26/11 - 12:28 pm
0
0
You can thank consolidation

You can thank consolidation for the end of community-based policing in the urban core of Augusta.

Willow Bailey
20603
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Willow Bailey 07/26/11 - 12:39 pm
0
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The Mayor's office is not

The Mayor's office is not law enforcement, what has Sheriff Ronnie Strength said?

Lori Davis
968
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Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 01:11 pm
0
0
Willow, Thanks for all of

Willow, Thanks for all of your suggestions. I can check every single one of them off, with the exception of contacting my Congressman, and suing the city. Actually we would file a Writ of Mandamus against the sheriff's office forcing them to do their job. I did, however, take a landlord to Magistrate's court to prove that we have no recourse as citizens. This is why I said in my letter that we have done every reasonable thing we could think of. Also, I will not put in this forum any particulars about meeting with the Sheriff, but would be happy to discuss it by phone. If you would like my phone number, email me at davislori@hotmail.com. Suffice it to say that I have had many meetings with him and you certainly understand the sensitivities with this, which is the reason that I will not put it on this page. When I ran for Mayor, I ran solely on part of the Mayor's job description which says,"The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer of Augusta-Richmond County. It shall be his duty to have the ordinances and laws governing Augusta-Richmond County put into full force." Article 2, Sec.1-2-27. I believe this brings our Mayor into the problem-solving process. If I left any of your questions unanswered, let me know, and thanks so much for taking a true interest in this.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/26/11 - 01:14 pm
0
0
yes Willow, when it comes to

yes Willow, when it comes to policing strategy, that is the realm of the Sheriff. However, the job description of the mayor in the charter says that it is his responsibility to put the ordinances and codes of Augusta-Richmond County into full force. One thing the mayor could do is put more pressure on Codes and Inspections to be more aggressive. Another thing the commssion could do is dedicate more funds for demolition of these abandoned properties (that often become magnets for illegal acitivity). We see today that the commission spent over a $175,000 to purchase an old bank building that it has no idea what it will do with. That would have paid to demolish 35 derelict houses that are on the waiting list. And if you say that splost can't be used for that.. well it should. Demolition is a one time cost.. and splost should be able to be used for things like that instead of becoming slushfund for pet projects of special interests and cronies. I'd like a mayor, or any local leader advocate meaningful reform of SPLOST, so that when we pay that penny tax on every dollar of purchase we make we can be assured that it is going to the thing we intended it to go towards projects of meaningful value to improving the city.

Lori Davis
968
Points
Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 01:30 pm
0
0
Thanks Emerydan. I can

Thanks Emerydan. I can always count on you!

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 07/26/11 - 01:58 pm
0
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Yes, I looked up what it says

Yes, I looked up what it says Deke's duties are on line, but , still, I don't think I would call the Mayor's office for a law enforcement problem unless I had first exhausted all measures through law enforcement, particularly Sheriff Strength. The rest I will send to you via mail.

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 07/26/11 - 01:59 pm
0
0
As I've said numerous times

As I've said numerous times in this forum, until we get a Sheriff with a 21st century approach to law enforcement this situation will not change. Sheriff Strength has gone on record saying he will never embrace a "community policing" style of law enforcement. He's also been quoted as saying "I'm not a social worker" What is effective policing if not part social work? Especially when dealing with troubled neighborhoods. After years of complaints and no results one can only conclude it is severe apathy or some amount of corruption. It's beginning to look more like the latter and less like the former.
Richmond County deserves better than this.Replace Ronnie in 2012!

Lori Davis
968
Points
Lori Davis 07/26/11 - 02:05 pm
0
0
Willow, Except for a Writ of

Willow, Except for a Writ of Mandamus, all has been exhausted with local law enforcement. Look forward to your email!

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