Communities host National Night Out against Crime

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Tuesday, August 6th ,2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Eighteen people have been shot in the last 18 days in Augusta. Five of those people have died.

It's a spike in crime that's causing concern in neighborhoods all over the area.

Tuesday night law enforcement took the opportunity to get out into the community in hopes of ending the violence.

"It's very frightening," said neighbor Suenitta Wells. "I'm very afraid at some points of my child even going outside, even going to school it's just things have gotten so bad."

Wells has a seven year old son and says the recent violence concerns her.

"At this point I think it's gotten way beyond where it needs to be," said Wells.

Wells says it's not her apartment complex, but Augusta in general that has her worried.

"It's a major fear. I'm even thinking about relocating. I don't know that Augusta is the right place to be anymore it's just things have gotten so bad," she said.

In a little over two weeks shootings have spiked all over the county affecting dozens of families and communities.

"We have had a spike in crime and we are doing everything we can to be in the neighborhoods and have or presence known," said Patrick Cullinan, a K-9 handler with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Monday night Wells joined her neighbors at Cedarwood Apartments for National Night Out against Crime.

"When there's nothing positive going on you dwell on nothing but evil," she said.

Besides a picnic, bounce house and DJ the neighbors also got a chance to talk to firefighters and law enforcement.

"People tend to want to get up and approach us when we get out with our dogs, and a lot of times they'll initiate the conversation," said Cullinan.

That's something Wells says is more than needed in the community.

"The fire trucks years ago were super cool. Everybody wanted to be a fireman, everybody wanted to be a policeman and save lives. Now when they see police officers they run, they're scared," she said.

And that's a perception she's trying to change for her son.

"Police officers can come out and let them know there's nothing to be afraid of. If you're doing nothing wrong, you're doing positive things that's great," she said.

Wells says the event Monday night is exactly what's needed with all the violence recently.

She's seen a major increase in the police presence in the past weeks and it makes her feel a lot safer, but she wants this to be something that goes on year round not just one night.

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