Augusta commissioners, residents discuss public safety solutions

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:23 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The last two weeks, Augusta Commission has either run out of time to discuss downtown public safety or completely scrapped it from the agenda.

Friday, commissioners tell us it’s a priority, but the issues are more widespread than just downtown. We reported on at least five deadly shootings in Richmond County in May.

That puts us on pace to pass last year’s homicide total, which was the lowest we’ve seen in four years.

We asked commissioners some tough questions about solutions on their end.

With the second shooting off Wrightsboro Road in a month, neighbors are asking for change.

“Silence is consent, and we need to do something about it,” said Roderick Pearson, Heather Drive resident.

Pearson and some of his neighbors heard the gunshots early Thursday morning. They’ve lived there for over a decade. They say while the community is starting to come together to keep their streets in check, they still worry.

“We have a situation now where people on our street, on our street, cannot allow their children to play in the front yard anymore because of the constant gunfire,” he said.

Ann Miller, Heather Drive resident said: “We don’t want to be afraid to walk outside our house and get inside our cars to go somewhere.

District 3 Commissioner Catherine Amith-McKnight spoke with a manager at ‘The Landings’, saying they need more security cameras and deputies around here.

“When you got shootings going on, and you had one down the street here, Captain D’s a few weeks ago, we can’t continue to tolerate this,” she said.

Another issue is programs for children not being available. Something McKnight says is in the hands of Augusta Parks and Rec to push forward.

Commissioner Dennis Williams says the issue is Augusta’s growth.

“With the growth of our community, and hard times, that generate a lot of crime. So we’re trying our best to prevent these things from occurring,” he said.

McKnight says programs like Augusta’s Boxing Club, which received $300,000 at Thursday’s meeting is a step in the right direction to keep young people off the streets.

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