Deputies: Downtown is not as bad as it seems

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, May 9, 2013

Augusta skyline

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Richmond County deputies say downtown Augusta is safe. They say with more people coming downtown, there's always a chance something could happen.

News 12 uncovered that the same night of the recent attack on the Riverwalk, deputies were responding to three other violent calls away from Broad Street.

"Augusta downtown is beautiful, and it doesn't scare me a bit," said Augusta resident Marylynn Zappacosta.

"It's too much drama out here, and I don't feel safe. It's the reason why i have a Taser," said Augusta resident Dianne Copeland.

Richmond County deputies say the downtown fight caught on camera and the attack on Wesley Spires and Ashley Solesbee is not a true picture of downtown Augusta.

"There's no particular bad spot in Augusta. We have certain areas that we get called out to more than others," said Lt. Calvin Chew.

We looked at Sheriff's Office records to see how many times they were called out over the past two years to see how often deputies were called to the Broad Street corridor compared to the East Boundary area. It showed deputies responded to Broad Street more often.

"When something happens downtown, people feel concerned and don't want to spend money down there," Chew said.

Calls to East Boundary were often more serious. That area had more calls for drugs and gunfire.

Chew says the same night of a downtown fight, deputies responded to four other assaults in places not on Broad or the Riverwalk. We also found that the same night Wesley Spires was attacked and robbed, there were three other assaults -- one robbery and a burglary -- but none along Broad Street or the Riverwalk.

"We're telling people downtown is safe, and the sheriff is going to do everything in his power to keep it safe," Chew said.

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