JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Gunfire seems to be a common sound in some Jacksonville neighborhoods, a problem that JSO Sheriff Mike Williams said is terrorizing the city.
In a one-on-one interview, Williams revealed that a small percentage of people in gangs pose a problem in troubled areas of Jacksonville.
"Less than one percent drives about 40 percent of violence we see in the community," Williams said.
Williams also added that the small group of people are between the ages of 18 to 35.
Williams told First Coast News that he is hoping JSO will be able to combat the violence.
About a year and a half ago, Williams said JSO partnered with the National Network for Safe Communities, a group across the country working to implement strategies to reduce violence and improve relationships between officers and the communities.
The group uses several tools to reduce violent crimes, including good-old fashioned communication: Speaking directly to gang members in hopes to prevent a crime before it happens.
"The message is this, you can not be the most violent gang in the city and you can not shoot and kill anybody," Williams said. "If you do that, you go to our list. You become our top priority. When I saw we, I'm talking about JSO, the FBI, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), the State Attorney, the U.S. Attorney."
JSO said it is also implementing shot spotter technology, which pinpoints gunfire all over the city. The city has been using it for less than a month and according to Williams, 63 shots have been spotted. Only three shootings were reported to JSO, leaving 61 possible crimes unaccounted for.
"After 18 days, we like what we see," Williams said. "It's going to be a great investigative tool. It's going to do a lot of stuff for us. I think it's well worth the investment."
The shot spotter service costs JSO $435,000 the first year and $325,000 each year after that.
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