AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A group gathered to hear strong discussions about the crime issue in Augusta and what needs to be done to bring about change. Saturday afternoon, a panel of leaders in this community shared what the real issues are and how they and others need to fix the problem.
Carlton Ferguson, CEO, Founder & Owner of Balling 4 A Cause kicked off the discussion.
“Fathers need to be a lot more involved,” he said adding that he does just that with his kids.
Real talk. Real issues.
Nothing was off limits during a community discussion on crime in Augusta.
NAACP Augusta Branch President Melvin Ivey told the group they need to look at economic disparities.
“…trying to jack somebody. You out trying to sell some weed simply because you don’t have the money,” he said. “So, I think we need to take a real good look at the economics. If you follow the money, you will find out where the crime is.”
The day started with prayer and a bit of poetry before tackling why there is crime in the city.
“Somebody’s going to get killed tonight, probably tomorrow morning,” Mayor Hardie Davis shared. “Mark Bowen is going to go pick them up. He’s going to send me an email. I’m going to feel bad and I’m going to go back to my church and I’m going to tell our church to pray and that’s not enough.”
The group talked about 22-year-old Gerald Waldon being found dead in Walton Acres and the class room attack gone viral this week depicting a middle school student’s rage. All of those acts, leaders said are unacceptable and can be stopped with more parents taking an active interest in their kid’s schooling and home life.
“The truth of the matter is you should come downtown,” said the Mayor. You should go up to the commission meeting. You should cry loud and spare not. You should go to the school board. You should cry loud and spare not. You should go to the Sheriff’s building on Walton Way and you should cry loud and spare not.”
Still, the overall theme was there’s a problem with a lack of remorse for killing others and not a lot of understanding of the consequence that no one comes back from death.
“If you’re 13-years-old and you commit a homicide, I don’t have a choice,” said District Attorney Natalie Paine. “You will be charged with murder and the mandatory minimum sentence that you will serve is 30 years in prison door to door. There is no parole prior to serving 30 years in prison.”