Police beef up presence in Uptown Columbus

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - At three o'clock in the afternoon, most people walking the streets of Uptown Columbus would never feel at risk or unsafe.

Bob beason says they should, though, after what he saw this past Monday, when one of his Phenix Loan Finance customers walked out of the store on Broadway after paying her bill.

"I was just finishing work on a computer, and 30 seconds after she walked out she started screaming bloody murder that she got robbed. After she got into her car, they stuck a gun through the window, pointed it at her and took her purse, phone and GPS," said Beason.

Beason was even more shocked to learn about another robbery in the Uptown area over the weekend, involving two Fort Benning soldiers who police say were walking to their car and were held up at gunpoint.

Not to mention the man police say was shot in the back as well on Broadway Saturday night.

"They need to do something, either put cameras on corners to help with surveillance or get more protection down here," said Beason.

Even though they feel these are isolated incidents, CSU police are taking the threat seriously, putting more officers on the streets not just at night time, but also during the daylight hours.

"To be proactive, we have increased our patrols as well as increasing the amount of officers working downtown. We will look at trying to sustain that for a while," said Russ Drew, the head of Columbus State University Police.

Still, is it enough to put residents at ease?

"Honestly, not so much. If they'll rob you at 2:45 in the afternoon, in broad daylight, it doesn't show me that it's safe," said Beason.

University Police say even with their increased presence, they want people to be more aware of their surroundings, because unfortunately, these incidents are happening all over the city.