When something untoward happens in a community, such as the rapes in Fort Valley and surrounding Peach County, there are two things the community can do: They can withdraw in fear or they can come together and fight back. The Fort Valley-Peach County community is fighting back. The Peach County Sheriff’s Office has put up $1,000 as has the Fort Valley Police Department, and Crimestoppers has added $500 to the reward for information that leads to the capture and arrest of the perpetrator of these crimes. And while it’s thought to be an individual, there is always the possibility that some of the attacks could be copycats.
Dr. Harry Ross, a Fort Valley State graduate, has called on Mayor Barbara Williams and the Fort Valley City Council to adopt a resolution “authorizing a reward fund of $10,000 to facilitate information from citizens to capture this perpetrator that is terrorizing the Fort Valley community.” Ross also called on ministers in Fort Valley and around Middle Georgia to contribute $100 toward a reward fund. Other businesses have also been encouraged to step up and contribute.
While that is one part of the strategy, the most important is to keep the women of Fort Valley safe during this manhunt. How do we do that? Law enforcement can’t be at every doorstep. However, it helps when residents have their eyes wide open and notice things that might be slightly out of place -- people, vehicles, open doors and windows, etc. Law enforcement is encouraging people to call with their little pieces of the puzzle. Maybe those pieces will fit together and lead to an arrest. This might also be a good time to take a safety audit of your home. Is the exterior well-lit? Are the doors solid and secure? Are the locks on windows and doors operable? And what’s the escape plan if an intruder does try to gain entrance to your home?
Everyone in and around Fort Valley should understand that this case is law enforcement’s highest priority, from the District Attorney’s Office to the Fort Valley campus police to the GBI, sheriff’s office and Fort Valley police.
They all want to end this menace to the community.