GOT COPS local group cuts down crime one tree at a time

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Nov. 5, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- This story brings a whole new meaning to neighborhood watch. We're taking you to Augusta's Harrisburg neighborhood where even the trees can be considered accomplices to crime. The plan is to cut down crime one tree at time.

News 12 was there as community activist Woody Merry cut down a tree at the corner of Eve Street and Battle Row.

"Our snitches informed us of several distribution points for drugs," Merry said. "This is one of the most popular because it is the easiest to pass the drugs off."

Merry took us on a short stroll to show us what appeared to be drug paraphernalia.

"These are the bags that they use," said Merry as he knelt down near an abandoned trailer. "They hide them up underneath here."

The tree was an alleged staging point.

"I love it," said James Jones, who was happy to see crews taking down what has become known as the drug tree. "It helps deter drug activity because the guys had a habit of hanging up under that tree."

After chopping down the tree, Merry tagged the trailer with the words GOT COPS.

"What does that mean?" we asked Merry.

"Get Out of Town Citizens on Patrol Surveillance," he replied.

The group is starting by sending mass emails highlighting alleged criminal suspects.

"We get tips all the time," Merry said. "We knew about the shootings down here Saturday night before the police knew about it."

The GOT COPS group is taking matters in its own hands.

"At some point you have to say, 'What have I got to lose?'" said community activist Lori Davis. "I live here. My house is paid for. I don't want to be run out of here."

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