Groups working together to cut Augusta’s violent crime

Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 6:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Local activists and nonprofits are working on ways to get the community involved in solutions to the recent gun violence.

We spoke with a community activist and someone with a community outreach program. They say to steer people in the right direction and away from crime starts with the younger generation.

“There are a lot of parents and kids suffering, just our city is suffering behind the crime that is going on,” said Ray Montana, community activist.

Montana wants city leaders to talk with community organizations to help bridge the gap in decreasing crime.

“I want to encourage our officials in office to engage more with the community organizations because they do more work than city organizations do for our community,” he said.

He also has a message for gang members.

“It’s time for us to call a truce. It’s enough of us dead. It’s enough of us that have been killed. Enough is enough,” said Montana.

The Boys and Girls Club serves thousands of kids in the CSRA and gives them an outlet after school.

Maria Henry, Chief Development Officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Augusta said: “We found that if kids don’t have a better option, that’s when they get into trouble. We meet them where they are. We go to the neighborhoods that they live in. We give them a safe place where they can get positive experiences and learn about those opportunities that will help them grow and achieve success after graduation.”

The Boys and Girls Club says they work closely with schools and the sheriff’s office.

“The purpose behind that is to understand the challenges the youth we serve are facing and that we can meet them in a way that really prepares them for what they are going to face,” she said.

Their goal is for students to have a path to success.

Montana is running for the District 2 commission seat in the upcoming election. We asked other candidates their thoughts on the recent crime.

Von Pouncey, Richmond County teacher, District 2 commission candidate: “Through my years of experience conducting research, holding conversations, and watching the news - I’ve come to believe that the majority of the reasons that people give for committing loss of life crime can be categorized into three ‘buckets’: lack of resources to meet basic needs, mental health, and reactive responses to unexpected situations. Since the crime is the ‘effect’, I would address the ‘cause’. What are the resources that people need to live productive and sustainable lives that will keep them from feeling the desperation that crime is the only answer? Is mental health unmedicated or undiagnosed? How do we structure (because it MUST be implemented) a program that teaches people how to be proactive and that increases their emotional intelligence?”

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