Duval County has hit nearly 100 homicides this year. The next killing will put Duval County at 100 for 2012. That’s more in this decade than any previous year.
In February only one person was killed in Jacksonville, but in March, May, July, September and November there were ten or more murders or homicides in the county. The numbers for domestic murders are up, and murder-suicides have increased.
Family and friends of the 95th homicide victim of the year gathered for a vigil Thursday night. They remembered Telia Toalton who was killed by her boyfriend, Prince Sanders in her Riverside home.
"We'll see how I do, but so far so good. I've got to keep it together for the kids," said Telia's sister Kishrondra Petruska.
"The numbers I’m concerned about are the murder numbers. Last year at this time, we were 69. This year we’re 83. So we’re up 14 murders, and that is a concern," said Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.
Sheriff Rutherford told Channel 4 by phone that he believes continual cuts to staff will eventually catch up to law enforcement efforts.
Channel 4 Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson agrees.
"Because when you cut officers, take officers off the streets, the worker bees, the men and women that run to danger, to help prevent, you’re eventually going to see an impact, a major impact simply because they won’t have the resources to be able to properly do the job that they could do," said Jefferson.
"Several years ago, I told this community, you give me resources, and we’ll drive the crime down in this community and we did," Rutherford said. "We brought on 130 police. I now have fewer police positions today than I had in 2003, so that has an impact."
Homicides dropped every year from 2007, when there were 152. There were 90 in 2011 and 99 this year.