Violence Has Some Vowing To Stay Away From Downtown Augusta, But - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Violence Has Some Vowing To Stay Away From Downtown Augusta, But New Security Cameras Could Be On The Way

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Mildred Coleman says she's done going back downtown. "I wouldn't go it would scare me to go down there I felt funny about it before that now I really wouldn't go, she said while going shopping in west Augusta.

Two brutal muggings on the Augusta Riverwalk, and a vicious brawl last month downtown with the video now making the rounds on social media will impact Broad Street. The question is...by how much? 

"That will be yet to be seen, the last time that this happened, for a day or two people were a little leery you  look at what happened Saturday we had hundreds of people downtown and it was it was hustling yesterday," says Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Director Margaret Woodard.

Those downtown point out the muggings occurred on Riverwalk, not Broad Street, and dismiss the worry that people will turn to the incidents as a final reason not to come downtown .

"No, the short answer is no. It's becoming more vibrant," says Doctor Benjamin Casella, who is president of the Downtown Augusta Alliance. 

"We went to first Friday early on and didn't go back for this very reason, so we wouldn't go, says Coleman.

But, plans are in the works that could make downtown safer it involves 10 new security cameras to be installed on the signal lights and lamp posts on Broad Street.

Fiber optic lines are ready in place and the DDA is waiting on $75,000 in sales tax funds to come in the fourth quarter of this year to hopefully move forward installing the cameras.

"That is a project we have discussed we feel like it will deter if people know they are on camera they may think twice," says Woodard.

"In lieu of the terrible acts of terror that just happened in Boston, it was both private and public security cameras that played a role in capturing those suspects," says Casella, who supports the idea of additional security cameras.

Because people will be suspect about coming downtown unless they feel it is safe.

"What does downtown need to do to get you back, we asked Coleman, "Well, I'm not sure they need to have more security or  I don't know it's got to get better or nobody is going to go down there.

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