With early voting already underway, last week we spoke to all 4 candidates in Fort Valley about different topics including crime.

Many of them had similar answers.

So, WMAZ wanted to verify “Does Fort Valley have a high crime rate?”

Kasandra Ortiz set out to find the answer. She verified it with two sources.

Kasandra spoke to all four candidates, Barbara Williams, Ralph Davis II, Jo Ann Dankel and Jamie Johnson. She also got crime numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Many people in Fort Valley say it's got a small town feel which helps them maintain a pretty safe environment.

"It's a great retirement community because of our safety and our public safety and all that kind of stuff,” says Mayor Barbara Williams.

Most of the four Fort Valley mayoral candidates agreed.

In fact, many of their answers were similar when asked about crime in town.

"Crime isn't actually that bad here in Fort Valley. Fort Valley has a bad reputation and needs some new PR,” explains candidate Ralph Davis II.

Candidate Jo Ann Dankel agreed.

"More than anything we have a perception problem in Fort Valley. People think that we have a high crime rate. We don't. We do have crime as does every community,” says Dankel.

WMAZ wanted to verify “Does Fort Valley have a high crime rate?” So we looked at numbers reported by the F.B.I. to see how the city compared to others in the state. We compared the crime rates based on population for 171 Georgia cities.

According to the FBI, Fort Valley is among the top 10 in the state for both aggravated assaults and for all violent crimes from 2014 to 2016.

For instance, you may remember the stabbing at Fort Valley State University that killed a student and injured an officer. For murders they ranked 51st out of 171, robberies 54th and burglaries 33rd.

"One of our biggest issues that I've had to look at was our burglaries. But a lot of times they may not just be burglaries from people in our community but are passing through this community,” explains candidate Jamie Johnson.

Fort Valley was above average on all crime ranked 58th, property crime ranked 76th and rapes ranked 61st. Here's another example, in September a Fort Valley man was convicted of several rapes and home invasions.

So WMAZ verified that based on FBI numbers, Fort Valley does have a high crime rate in several categories compared to other cities in the state.

VERIFY Sources:

- Fort Valley Candidates

- Federal Bureau of Investigations

TOP 10 in the state

Aggravated assaults (4th out of 171 cities)

All violent crime (7th out of 171)


Burglaries 33rd (out of 171)

Murders 51st (out of 171)

Robberies 54th (out of 171)

Above average

All crime 58th (out of 171)

Rapes 61st (out of 171)

All property crime (76th out of 171)