County law enforcement officials will be looking for tips of a different kind as they join together and wait tables at Pizza Hut Thursday, April 14, from 11:30-1:30 p.m.
Their efforts, and the monetary tips they receive, will go to help victims of crimes in McDuffie County as part of an observance for National Crime Victim's Rights Week April 10 - 16. In addition, Pizza Hut will support the effort by donating 20 percent of sales during the lunch hour. The funds will be used for photo technology to aid the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department and Thomson Police Department for various victim cases from domestic violence and assaults to theft cases, said Tab Purvis, victim advocate with the Victim Assistance Program.
From left, Thomson Mayor Bob Knox, McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton and Kelli Phillips -- the community resource specialist for DFCS and the chairperson of Prevent Child Abuse McDuffie -- listen to Director of Prevent Child Abuse Georgia David Earnest talk during Tuesday morning's program spotlighting child abuse. About 30 people attended the ceremony.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
Also as part of the NCVRW observance, Mike Love has arranged a ceremony on the courthouse lawn where a display of black, life-sized silhouettes will highlight the problem of crime and domestic violence. The 3 p.m. ceremony at the courthouse will follow the Pizza Hut Tables for Tips effort.
"Those of us who work with victims on a daily basis invite everyone to join with us in recognizing that victims have rights," said Marie Johnson, program coordinator for the Toombs Judicial Circuit Victim Assistance Program.
"This is an excellent opportunity for McDuffie County to come out and support a local need, while taking the time to remember the difficulties that victims of crime face," said Ms. Purvis. The annual NCVRW observance is designed to increase awareness about the rights and services available to crime victims and survivors, and serves to educate the public about the lasting impact of crime.
"It is important to remember that while people choose to break the law, any one of us may become a victim unwillingly," said Dennis Sanders, district attorney for Toombs Judicial Circuit.
Statistics on crime are sobering, and Mr. Love wants to bring attention to those numbers with his solemn display on the courthouse lawn.
"I've been amazed at the statistics of domestic violence," said Mr. Love, who unveiled the first silhouette weeks ago during a memorial service for Robin Reeves who was found murdered in her Thomson home Feb. 28, 2001.
Pinwheels on the courthouse lawn call attention to the number of local child abuse cases. In 2003, there were 221 reported cases of child abuse in McDuffie County. Of those, 107 were substantiated. In 2004, there were 281 cases reported and 120 substantiated.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
Mr. Love plans 12 silhouettes for the courthouse display, each life sized, with statistics on domestic violence posted on a placard nearby.
"The courthouse display will be in memory of Robin," he said.
This is the 25th year of the NCVRW which was started in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.
Homicide: 16,204 a year; 44 a day; an average of 2 people are murdered every hour.
Rape: 198,850 a year; 545 a day; an average of 23 people are raped each hour.
Assault: 4,606,740 a year; 12,621 a day; an average of 526 people are assaulted each hour.
Theft: 14,198,290 a year; 38,899 a day; an average of 1,621 thefts are committed each hour.
Domestic Violence: 588,490 women a year; 1,612 a day; an average of 67 women are victimized by an intimate partner every hour.
Burglary: 3,395,620 a year; 9,303 a day; an average of 388 homes are burglarized every hour.
Child Abuse and/or Neglect: 896,000 a year; 2,455 a day; an average of 102 children are abused or neglected every hour.
Drunk Driving: 17,401 a year; 47.7 a day; an average of 2 alcohol-related deaths occur every hour.
School Violence: 703,800 a year; 3,910 a day; 163 violent victimizations are committed against 12-17 year-old students on school grounds every hour.
Stalking: 1,377,960 a year; 3,775 a day; approximately 157 people are stalked every hour.
Identity Theft: 301,835 a year; 827 a day; an average of 34 identity theft complaints every hour.
Elder Abuse: 472,813 a year; 1,295 a day; an average of 54 reports of elder abuse in domestic and institutional settings an hour.