News 12 First at Five / Friday, Nov. 16, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- After three murders in one Augusta apartment complex this year alone, neighbors are beginning to ask for help to make their neighborhood safe again.
Charlene Carter has lived in River Glen for a year, and she says, "The killing, shooting, it don't make no sense, got the kids out here, they seeing it too."
Carter's daughter's best friend was shot and killed at River Glen just two days ago.
"I'm sad, I'm depressed because the little boy that got shot used to be at my house every day," Carter said.
She says the violence in the apartment complex is only getting worse, and it's time to come up with a new plan.
"When we work the apartment complex, we don't have any problems, but it's when we leave. And they know when we come and when we go," said Cpt. Scott Gay with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
Richmond County has increased patrols, but they say they can't be there all the time.
"We have other areas of Richmond County, and I can't just stick someone in one apartment complex," he said.
Many people in the neighborhood wonder why the sheriff substation in the apartment complex sits empty.
"The substation has nothing to do with enforcement," Gay said.
Deputies say the substations around town were mainly used for paperwork before Internet technology became available.
Deputies are scheduling a meeting with management to come up with a plan to combat the violence, but the violence is also turning the heads of city leaders who say it has to stop.
Carter just wants them to bulldoze the place, saying, "If they don't tear it down, they need to give people vouchers so they can move somewhere else."
But city leaders say it isn't that simple. Unlike Cherry Tree, River Glen is managed by a private company that contracts with the city, so they can't just tear it down. But there is something deputies think the city should look into.
"The city can bring the owners of the complex before the commission and decide if they want to continue giving them a business license," Gay said.
We asked the families who live in River Glen what they think of management, and they say they can't get anyone to answer their phone calls.
News 12 has been having the same problem. We've tried to get management to call us back for the past two days, and all we've gotten is the runaround.
So, we took the community's concerns about violence to commissioners, who say they have had this problem with the private company before.
"Some time ago, the sheriff's department and some others had some meetings there to kind of raise the bar on what we needed to see from there," Commissioner Matt Aitken said.
But with three murders in less than a year's time on their property, has PK Management really lived up to their promises?
"I don't think they've lived up to the expectations of the city right now," Aitken said.
City leaders have called together a task force to meet with the management group to come up with a solution to the violence, but are commissioners ready to take away PK Management's business license?
Aitken says it's not off the table.
"That's what it takes, we will. We certainly want to work with anybody, but I think when you do business with the city of Augusta, it's a privilege."