VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The city of Valdosta has seen a rise in crime lately from armed robberies to vehicle break-ins to homicides.
Valdosta police officers are saying it's going to take the community as a whole to reduce the rise of wrongdoing throughout the city.
"If you want things to progress, if you want the guy who's going around stealing in your neighborhood, into your neighbors' house, if you want this to stop, help us," said Lieutenant Adam Bembry.
In just the past month, there have been four homicides and nearly 600 vehicle break in's in Valdosta alone and a lot of those crimes have been committed by minors.
HOMICIDES IN VALDOSTA SINCE OCTOBER 24:
+Victim identified, suspect arrested after fatal Valdosta shooting
+Teen turns himself in after deadly Valdosta shooting?
+Two dead in Valdosta shooting, wreck
With stats like that, the Valdosta Police Department said it needs the community's help.
"Generally, on almost all of the press releases that we've had citizens participate in the capturing of somebody, we always try to remember to not only thank them but to the address the fact that this case was broken wide open because of this testimony or this bit of information," said Bembry.
What could be the most alarming statistic VPD is dealing with is the fact that the perpetrators are young, very young.
Just last week, VPD arrested a 13 and a 14-year-old after they were accused of attacking a 70-year-old man as he mowed his lawn in broad daylight.
In addition to that, back on October 30, three teenagers, including a 14-year-old and 16-year-old were arrested and charged with the murder of 21-year-old Sedric Williams.
Lieutenant Bembry said some of these crimes go unsolved out of fear.
"There are people that will not cooperate with law enforcement because they are afraid for their safety," explained Bembry.
So, VPD has decided to try and counteract the fear, by going to some of the high schools to meet with teens.
The department's goal is to talk to students about how to interact with law enforcement or what to do if pulled over by police, but Bembry said parents have to do their part as well.
"There is no 'too early' of an age to start with instilling in them what's expected of them, from 2 all the way to 17, but you never stop telling them what is expected of them," explained Bembry.
Bembry said the Valdosta Police Department will continue searching for ways to increase safety and decrease crime in the community.
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