ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The year is half-way over, and Dougherty County leaders said the number of homicides so far is less than years past.
“You’re going to get hurt," Rebecca Johnson, an Albany resident, said. “You’re going to get mugged, teased. And you’re going to get jumped. You don’t know where the coroner is going to be in some areas.”
The fear of being hurt is a big concern for Johnson.
Even worse — she’s often terrified a coroner is nearby responding to another death.
“It has made me change a lot of ways," Johnson said. "The way I live. I do go out at night, but I don’t go out in certain areas.”
But there's good news for those concerned like Johnson.
The Dougherty County Coroner said homicide numbers are going down.
There’s been been six reported homicides in Dougherty County in 2019.
“We’re down a little bit compared to where we normally be,” Michael Fowler, Dougherty County coroner, said.
Fowler said the county is on a good track.
In 2017, there were a total of 23 homicides and in 2018, there were 17.
Folwerr said in July of both of those years, the county would have surpassed the current number of 2019 homicides.
“We hope to keep that down for the rest of the year,” said Fowler.
But the coroner by day and pastor by night said it’s going to take more conversations and mentoring in schools and churches to keep it that way.
“That’s one of the things I try to communicate with my congregation," Fowler said. "Let’s learn to talk things out. Work things out.”
As it could aid in keeping you and your loved ones alive.
But learning change has happened, some are less on edge.
“I feel a lot more safer that numbers went down,” said Johnson.
Fowler said that he is willing to partner with any churches and come to any schools to educate people about putting the guns down.
If you would like to partner with the coroner, call the Dougherty County Coroner’s Office at (229) 438-3974.
There have been four suicides in Dougherty County so far in 2019, according to Fowler.
The coroner said your help is needed to stop them all together.
Fowler said it’s important to pay attention to suicidal signs.
Leaders have seen signs of depression, illnesses, job loss, and bullying in schools as triggers to suicide.
They’re asking for you to recognize those signs, and always have an open ear to those who need it.
“So when you’re listening and they don’t want to get help, sometimes you have to make the call for them. And let someone know this person needs help,” said Fowler.
As school is approaching, the coroner is encouraging all parents to keep an eye on your children.
Fowler said it’s important to watch out for all behavioral changes.