JACKSONVILLE, Fla — "In Jacksonville, you are more likely to die in a traffic crash than be murdered."
It was a statement tweeted out by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Thursday that caused a stir online. Perhaps it was the bluntness of the message that had Twitter users commenting on the abruptness of the information, which came seemingly unprovoked.
"Weird flex, but ok," replied @AndyGillis904.
"I hope this isn't a segue to a new campaign slogan -- "Jacksonville! We don't murder THAT many people," said @btcharpied.
But just how accurate is the figure?
Are people more likely to die in a car crash than get murdered in Jacksonville?
Yes, but not by much.
WHAT WE FOUND:
According to statistics from the Florida Health Department, there were 137 people who died in Duval County as the result of a traffic crash in 2018.
These include crashes investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Florida Highway Patrol and other police agencies within the Jacksonville area, such as Neptune Beach Police and others.
Our news partners at the Florida Times-Union report that in 2018, there were 128 people murdered in the city of Jacksonville.
A difference of just nine.
What about 2019? Well, the number of people killed in traffic crashes jumped dramatically. Statistics from the Florida Health Department suggest there were 160 people that died in Duval County. Surely there couldn't have been THAT many homicides?
As of the end of New Year’s Eve, our news partners at the Florida Times-Union reported that Jacksonville had seen 158 homicides.
That's a difference of only two, and also the highest number of homicides reported for an entire year since the Times-Union began keeping track in 2006.
There are a few things to take into consideration when digging into this claim. Yes, technically the statement made by JSO is factually accurate; however, we don't know the exact breakdown of traffic fatalities when it comes to city vs. county numbers.
The data provided by the Health Departments groups fatal crashes into a larger category of 'Duval County,' but some of these crashes could have happened in areas that are not technically Jacksonville such as the Beaches.
We also need to look at more recent data. If JSO is making this claim at the beginning of 2021, it would only be fair to reference statistics from this year or last. The 2018 and 2019 numbers could be considered outdated.
- Yes, the claim made by JSO is technically accurate but could be considered misleading given the marginal difference between the two death rate categories.
- Additionally, more information about where these crashes happened is needed to fully substantiate this claim.
- More recent data is also needed from the Florida Health Department.