Jacksonville’s top leader says more investment is needed to help solve the city’s violent crime problem.
This is in response to a deadly few days on the First Coast. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says that investment is key to fighting violent crime.
“One violent crime is one too many. If one happens, we have to continue to double down on our investment on public safety,” Curry said. “We are going to continue to invest and do everything we can to make this city a safe city.”
The number of murders in Duval County has gone up during each of Mayor Curry’s years in office. According to Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime stats, 97 murders occurred in 2015, 106 occurred in 2016 and 112 occurred in 2017. (As of this publishing, 38 murders have occurred in 2018 officially, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)
But just as the total number of murders increased, so did the population. As a result, the per capita murder rate has stayed flat. That means that despite all of the effort to bring the murder rate down, statistically speaking, Jacksonville is holding steady.
Earlier this year, the Jacksonville On the Rise political committee released a campaign ad touting Mayor Curry’s crime initiative.
“People want more police officers. That is why I am funding them,” Curry said. “180 police officers have been funded by me over the past 3 years.”
And that wording caught our attention. The Mayor says new officer positions have been funded. The Mayor’s Office directed us to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to ask whether that 180 new officers had hit the street. We were told by a JSO spokesperson that information was not readily available.
“We are going to continue to invest and do everything we can to make this city a safe city,” Curry said.