Students use chalk to represent U.S. murders

On Thursday, Aug. 29, nearly 60 Augusta University students made 17,284 marks on the sidewalks of the Summerville Campus to indicate the number of murders in the United States in 2017, the most recent year of complete FBI Uniform Crime Report data.

The activity was part of the Sociology of Murder course taught by Dr. Kim Davies, chair of the Department of Social Sciences in the university’s Katherine Reese Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. For over 15 years, Davies has conducted this class exercise as a way to help shed light on  America’s violent crime rates.

“There are studies that show America being a very violent country, and I use this class to help students look at all of the societal reasons that contribute to our nation’s murder rates,” said Davies. “However, not only do my students review murder statistics, but I teach them to view aggravated assault as a ‘murder amiss’ and how we have such a great team in Augusta University’s Department of Emergency Medicine who save the lives of many aggravated assault victims.”

Each student chalked a little over 300 marks, and Ashley Ngaoka was among the students who participated in the annual activity.

“This exercise helps to put everything in perspective on the number of murders that happen on a daily basis,”  said Ngaoka, an Integrated Studies major. “The statistics on the sidewalk are a way we can bring awareness of what is happening around us and it is a reminder of how it can happen to anyone.”

To learn more, visit the Department of Social Sciences website.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

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