AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) -Sheriff Richard Roundtree with the Richmond County Sheriff’s office held a press conference Thursday to discuss the issue of gun violence in the area.
“There is a gun culture in Richmond County, where individuals especially young African American males because 100% of our homicides are of the African American community,” says Sheriff Roundtree.
So far in 2019 the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has seen 29 prosecutable homicides. Last year around this time, the number of homicides was the same.
But the real issue is the number of gun and gang-related crimes.
“This stops today. This ends. We’re going to throw everything we have at this problem because the culture has to change. We can’t lock our way out of it. The culture has to change and from multiple aspects,” says Sheriff Roundtree.
Gun related aggravated assault crimes have increased this year by 57%. Totaling 184 gun related reports. In 2018 there were less than 100. This year 24% of the crimes are gang related and 20% drug-related.
“what we are also trying to do is for the overall crime not just gun crime, is we want a comprehensive camera system throughout Richmond County,” says Sheriff Roundtree.
The idea to add that camera system is something he says will deter someone from committing a crime. If a crime is committed it could help in solving the case.
“They say that cameras just record crime it don’t stop it, but I rather have a crime caught on tape than not have it what so ever,” says Sheriff Roundtree.
The Sheriff’s Office is currently staffed at 90 percent. There are plans to add 20 more deputies by the end of the year.
“To focus their efforts on deterring, forcing, prosecuting and preventing gun related crimes,” says Sheriff Roundtree.
Sheriff Roundtree urges and encourages those who own a gun to keep it in a safe place and not your car.