April 10, 2015 – Fort Valley State University’s Campus Police and Safety recently joined a new multi-agency task force dedicated to solving a series of off-campus sexual assaults/robberies of women in the surrounding community.
FVSU Police Chief Kenneth Morgan said along with FVSU’s police department, the task force includes the Fort Valley Police Department and the Peach County Sheriff’s Department.
“The task force is working extremely hard with agencies involved,” Morgan said. “We are around the clock working on this case.”
Over the past week, the area surrounding the university’s campus has been plagued with at least five home burglaries that also resulted in the sexual assault of two off-campus FVSU students.
All of the incidents occurred within a couple blocks of the campus.
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.
“Fort Valley State University Campus Police is a 24-hour police department,” Morgan said. “In regards to the recent assaults that occurred off campus, we’ve increased our police presence. We’ve had off-duty officers coming in on extra duty and extra patrols. The FVSU administration has supported us really well in our endeavors to ensure our students, faculty, and staff are safe. We’re pushing even on the outskirts of campus where the assaults occurred.”
Morgan said FVSU’s on-campus policing efforts are bolstered by surveillance cameras, police patrols and the presence of security guards at all entry points.
“We’re also putting out reminders and alerts to our campus community to remind them to do things like locking their doors and windows and being aware of their surroundings and other measures they may not always think about,” Morgan said.
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-20swith 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) 825-3383or by dialing 911,or call the FVSU Campus Police and Safety at (478) 825-6211.
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.