Augusta downtown leaders plan forum after violence
by Associated Press Wire
May 07, 2013 10:45 AM | 429 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Downtown leaders in Augusta are planning a public forum after a brutal attack on a couple and concerns about safety in the area.

The forum hosted by the Downtown Augusta Alliance is planned for 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Karen Gordon Stage.

Police say the couple was robbed and beaten with metal bats or pipes while sitting on a bench on Riverwalk around 11 p.m. Friday.

The crime has led some residents to be wary of visiting the area, particularly at night, The Augusta Chronicle reported.

A Beech Island, S.C. man was robbed and beaten Thursday night outside Riverfront Pub, and the recent posting of a YouTube video showing a large brawl on Broad Street have also fueled concerns about safety.

Restaurant owners near the Augusta Riverwalk worry that the mugging could be another blow to business, similar what happened after a shooting on Broad Street after the First Friday event in July that injured six people.

William Harrison, the owner of The Boll Weevil Cafe on Ninth Street, said that the restaurant was very busy during the weekend but that one high-profile crime can hurt business.

Employees of The Cotton Patch near Eighth Street were reminded Saturday of the restaurant's policy not to close the restaurant by themselves, take trash outside alone or walk to cars alone, manager Rose Evans said.

Evans and Harrison said that there is little to no police presence on the riverwalk and that security cameras need to be installed to deter crime.

"It's nice during the day, but I wouldn't go down there at night," Harrison said. "It's not well-lit. It's not patrolled by police that I've ever seen."

At dusk on Monday, Marcell Murphy was relaxing with a friend on the Riverwalk and enjoying the view of the Savannah River. He said likes the quiet seclusion offered by Riverwalk Augusta on warm spring nights.

But Murphy acknowledged the isolation can have a darker side. He encounters more homeless people asking for money than he see police officers.

"It's peaceful, but it's dangerous," he said. "There are some places you just don't go."


Information from: The Augusta Chronicle ,

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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