Despite surge, data reveals overall crime is down in Augusta

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’ve seen seven shootings, five of them deadly, in the past 12 days. It may seem like crime is up, but the sheriff’s office says it’s the opposite.

Since January, there have been 128 violent crimes that include homicide, aggravated assault, and aggravated assault with a gun.

In a statement, Sheriff Roundtree says crime is down compared to years before.

Homicides are up in April, but aggravated assaults and aggravated assaults with guns are either down or on par with the rest of the year.

RCSO Violent Crimes data
RCSO Violent Crimes data(WRDW)

We spoke to a crime expert who says the recent uptick in violent crimes is unusual, and there is more behind this recent crime surge than meets the eye.

“Even though it might seem like it’s high, comparatively, it is quite low. But we do see these bursts,” said Candace Griffith, a criminologist at Augusta University.

She says spikes in crimes come in waves naturally and what makes this wave stand out is the level of violence.

“What we’ve been seeing here, particularly in the last couple of months, is this rise in gun violence, shootings, even around the CSRA, not just Richmond County,” she said.

Roundtree says at least two of these shootings were gang-related. Griffith says that’s what experts call ‘situational violent crimes’.

“Is there an increase in gang violence because violence begets violence? It might perpetuate until finally, something interferes,” said Griffith.

She adds it is hard to explain why people commit a crime, but there are a leading number of factors.

“When we think about the truly disadvantaged and crime, we see a correlation. But just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you’re going to commit a crime,” she said.

The sheriff’s office told us Monday, they started more patrols in parts of town where there have been more gun violence. Over the weekend, they did some ‘proactive crime suppression along with road checks and drug busts.’

They issued search warrants on eight homes and arrested eight people. They confiscated 51 pounds of marijuana, various pills and cocaine, a gun, a car, and $14,000.

At Tuesday’s commission meeting, the recent crime surge is on the agenda to address.

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