Sheriff Roundtree is trying to gain downtown property support

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Augusta skyline

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Monday's shooting is piling on the problems some see with downtown Augusta not being safe. We've reported Sheriff Richard Roundtree believes his plan could change that perception.

The mayor and most of the commission already support the plan. Now the sheriff hopes those who live and work downtown will as well.

Recent fights, attacks and other crimes are blurring the image of safety for some in downtown Augusta.

Carletta Wynn only exercises downtown during the day.

"I don't feel safe in the evenings," Wynn said.

Crimes happen during the day as well. On Monday, GBI agents say 29-year-old Travis Berrian brought a gun into the probation office on Greene Street. Berrian was shot and killed and a probation officer rests in the hospital.

"This was during daylight hours and you can't pre-empt acts of violence," said Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

"You have armed officers inside the building. I don't think you could've had more officers inside one place at the same time," said Sheriff Roundtree.

The sheriff wants nine deputies stationed to patrol Greene and Broad streets and the River-walk 24 hours a day. Deputies will patrol 5th to 13th streets. Roundtree is looking to start a business improvement district that would help pay for those extra deputies.

"It's not going to fix it overnight. The problem didn't happen overnight. We want a program that is long standing and can improve every year," Roundtree said.

Hopefully that will make it easier for folks like Wynn to feel at ease walking in downtown Augusta.

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