Sheriff to attend Westside crime meeting

Public meeting scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at FSCJ Kent Campus


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you live on the Westside and you're worried about crime in your neighborhood, you can voice your concerns Monday night with the sheriff.

A committee is hosting a special community meeting in an effort to bring down the crime rate.

It's going to be at Florida State College at Jacksonville's Kent Campus on Roosevelt Boulevard.

A committee meets there once a month to discuss important issues and happenings in its area of town, but this month's meeting is special: They've invited Sheriff John Rutherford to come discuss crime on the Westside.

"People are afraid in their homes, they're afraid to go out especially at night," said Dewey Walker.

Walker is chairman of the Citizens Planning Advisory Committee on the Westside. He's also president of his homeowners association.

"It's a committee that's created 21 years ago by Ed Austin and the purpose of it is to have a contact between the local citizens local businesses educational institutes and civic organizations with the city government," said Walker.

Walker said he's seen how his neighbors are vulnerable to violent crime.

"Amber Bass was gunned down in her driveway at 3 in the morning three blocks from my house, and that's been approximately four or five months ago. There's been no arrests in it. We're concerned about that," said Walker.

Walker says the Westside leads the rest of Jacksonville when it comes to crime. And although it's nothing new, it's a title he and other residents want to shed now.

"The first five murders that took place in Jacksonville this year was on the Westside," Walker said. "We have numerous vehicles that's been stolen and other crimes being committed. All we ask is the sheriff to give us additional resources so we can control this crime wave."

Walker said getting the community and the sheriff together Monday night to discuss the problems and come up with solutions is long overdue, but it's a good start.

"We are there to support the sheriff and work with the sheriff," he said. "We are not there to fight with him, but we do need additional resources, and we feel if we work together, we can make a difference in the crime rate on the Westside."

Walker said Sheriff Rutherford asked for an hour to make a presentation at the meeting and then answer questions for people.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the FSCJ Kent Campus on Roosevelt Boulevard and will be in the main auditorium (Building F-128). There will also be 14 different crime prevention organizations set up with tables in the lobby to talk with residents.