April 29, 2015 – Fort Valley State University has launched a safety awareness initiative called SAFE (Safety Awareness for Everyone) to assist in educating students and the campus community about safety and awareness measures.
The initiative features a special web site with tips, relevant information and updates as well as enhanced social media notifications and alerts about criminal activities or related campus concerns.
The new measure is supportive of ongoing efforts to promote campus safety overall and amid concerns involving a series of off-campus sexual assaults/robberies of women in the surrounding Fort Valley community.
FVSU Campus Police and Safety recently joined a multi-agency task force dedicated to solving the assaults that have included off-campus attacks of FVSU female students.
FVSU Police Chief Kenneth Morgan said along with FVSU’s police department, the task force includes the Fort Valley Police Department, the Peach County Sheriff’s Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“The task force is working extremely hard with agencies involved,” Morgan said. “We are around the clock working on this case.”
In a show of solidarity, a group of Fort Valley business women have partnered to offer support to the crime victims and the surrounding community.
Angela Alcantar with Sunset Finance said they want everyone to know they care about the crimes that are occurring and they are pledging their support to the town and the campus community.
“We want everyone to know we care and we are in this together,” Alcantar said.
Over the past several weeks, the area surrounding the university’s campus has been plagued with at least eight home burglaries that also resulted in the sexual assault of three off-campus FVSU students.
All of the incidents occurred off campus within the City of Fort Valley.
Following each incident, the FVSU campus safety sent out electronic crime alerts to all students via email, text messages and recorded phone calls notifying them of the attacks after receiving reports from the city and county officials. Faculty and staffers who have opted in to the alert system were also notified, he said.
“We are continuing to ask our campus community to take proactive measures and be diligent,” Morgan said. “We want everyone to be safe and we are working around the clock to catch the personal responsible for these attacks.”
Police officials are asking the campus community to report any suspicious behavior to authorities. The accused attacker is described as a 5-foot, 8-inch tall black male in his early to mid-20s with a slender build. During the break-ins, victims said he wore black clothing and had a red bandana over his face.
Anyone with information on the case should call the Fort Valley Police Department at (478) 825-3383 or by dialing 911, or call the FVSU Campus Police and Safety at (478) 825-6211.
For more details, visit www2.fvsu.edu/safe.
Safety Tips to Prevent from Becoming a Crime Victim
Stay aware and Don’t Travel Alone
- Be mindful of your surroundings, especially at night.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Texting while walking prevents you from observing your surroundings.
- Listening to music through headphones, while walking, makes you less aware and is a bad idea, especially at night.
- Keep your vehicle doors locked at all times and look 360 degrees, before exiting your vehicle to go inside of your home.
- Always walk confidently with your head up, and stay alert of your surroundings
- Walk with a friend, buddy or a group.
- Have your keys ready before you reach your house or apartment door.
- If you have to go someplace late at night, notify a friend when you leave, and how long it will take for you to arrive.
- Pay attention to description of strangers in and around your area, especially their clothing and build.
- Call the police to check out suspicious strangers in your area.
- Carry your Student I.D. with you at all times.
Secure Yourself and Your Home
- Make it a habit to lock your doors after entering your homes. Check to see your doors are secure before you fall asleep at night.
- Never open your house or home to strangers or unwelcome visitors.
- Don’t broadcast your activities or personal information on social media.
Protect your valuables
- Never leave valuables, purses, wallets in plain view of your apartment or vehicle windows.
- Do not wear flashy jewelry, especially when walking home alone: it entices thieves.
- Never leave valuables, purses, wallets, in plain view of your apartment window or unsecured inside of your vehicle.
- Keep serial numbers stored of cell phones and digital equipment (laptops, tables, etc;)
- Install “Find Me” apps or locator apps on your smart phones.
- Write distinguishing marks on your property.
How to reduce your risk of sexual assault
Sexual assault cannot always be prevented, but you can reduce your chances of become a victim. Visit the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network’s “Ways to Reduce your risk of Sexual Assault” at https://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-prevention.
Campus Police Information
- Campus Police are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a for all Fort Valley State University students. The main office is located on the Ground Floor of the Bywaters Building.
- FVSU’s 24-hour Campus Police Department Telephone Number: (478) 825-6211, 6304, 6500 or text the Campus Police at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 24-Hour Escort Service is available. Call Campus Police at (478) 825-6211.
- Emergency phones are located throughout the campus. Push “Help Call” button to be connected with Campus Police.
- The FVSU Campus Police Department is located on the Ground Floor of the Bywaters Building and is open 24 hours a day for on and off campus students who need assistance.