An initiative to improve crime in certain hotel areas on the Southside was announced Wednesday.
It's a partnership between Southside hotel owners, the Florida Regional Lodging Association, Visit Jacksonville and JSO.
Dix Ellis Trail off Baymeadows Road is one of these problem areas, according to Councilman Danny Becton, who oversees District 11. It's where transgender woman Cathalina Christina James was murdered in June, and a man was shot and killed in 2017 at the Days Inn.
Crimes like those are what the initiative is trying to prevent.
"Human trafficking has become a big issue in our industry," said Fred Pozin, owner of Ramada on Hartley Road. Pozin is one of the hotel owners taking part in this initiative.
"From drug dealing to prostitution to shootings," Becton said. "We've cleaned up University which used to be on the news frequently, but it's now happening in Baymeadows. It's now in JTB."
He said JSO already has a task force for apartment complexes, but now he is trying to revamp a previously existing crime prevention program for hotels and motels.
"It really boils down to hotel owners, how much they are vigilant of their properties," Becton said.
First Coast News checked JSO's crime map, which says over the last six months, the area of hotels where Butler Boulevard meets I-95 had more than 40 crimes. The area on Dix Ellis Trail off Baymeadows Road had about 20 crimes, some of them violent.
"If they allow these activities to flourish then everybody suffers," Becton said.
"We want to get ahead of this and we want to make sure our efforts are handled in such a way that our guests are safe the moment they drive into our driveway," Pozin said.
Pozin said he keeps an eye out for suspicious guests.
"We are in a residential community, they want businesses to be safe because if businesses are safe, their residences are safe," he said. "If they bring friends and family into town they want those friends and family to be safe."
Pozin encourages hotels to make sure guests have valid ID's, substantial credit, and watch whether they have suspicious guests visiting them during their stay.
Future meetings on this initiative are being planned.