Memorial Day weekend in Jacksonville was brutal for the expected reasons, with at least a dozen people shot and four of them killed over the holiday.
In a city where virtually every politician who ran for office in 2015 messaged on the theme of public safety, what’s clear is that there is still work to do on stopping the violence — especially given that this weekend’s gunplay took place all over the city.
In that context, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams is slated to take one of his regular “crime prevention” walks Tuesday evening, visiting one of Jacksonville’s most violence-plagued neighborhoods.
The walk, slated to take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., will start and end at the intersection of West 45th Street and Dodge Road.
Other local politicians, including Duval County School Board Chair Paula Wright, will be on hand.
Through the first five months of 2017, Jacksonville has seen 56 homicides. This outpaces 2016, which saw 46 homicides through the course of the first six months of the year.
That 46 would nearly triple over the next six months, with waves of summer violence numbingly regular in Jacksonville’s struggling neighborhoods.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, in his 2015 campaign for the city’s top job, laid the blame for such violence at the feet of his predecessor, who he said cut budgets for police and for the Jacksonville Journey.
Curry claimed “murder and crime” spiked during the Brown era, with “kids dying on the street.” These problems, claimed Curry, stemmed from the Incumbent’s “inability to manage a budget”, leading to “fewer cops [and a] spike in crime and the murder rate.”
In Curry’s first two budgets, money has been allocated to hire 80 police officers and 80 more community service officers.
However, the addition of manpower has not led to an abatement in gun play.
With a long hot summer expected, one of the stories people will watch — both on the policy beat and the crime beat — will be the outbreaks in violence and the official response.