Police increase patrols in crime-ridden areas

JSO: 33 shootings since April 1; drugs leading violence


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office told members of the media Wednesday night that they are increasing patrols in certain areas of Jacksonville because of an increase in violence.

Police said almost than three dozen people have been shot, seven people have been killed and two police officers have wounded since April 1, and that they are taking action and increasing patrols in high-crime neighborhoods. 

Neighbors in those areas told Channel 4 they're tired of all the crime.

"Me and my niece was in apartment and they heard shooting. ‘Pop, pop, pop.' And I said, ‘Hit the floor.' My hip is hurting now," said Tanya Thompson. 

Thompson described the fear some of the community has felt.

"It's terrible, and I just moved here. Within three days, two shootings (happened) right on Sixth Street, three doors down from me. It's terrible. This is a senior citizen area, we have schools, I just moved here," said Thompson. 

Last year at this time there were 33 homicides; this year there are 34.

Police told the media the amount of violence in April alone is tremendous and that the drivers of the violence are drugs.

"The areas we are concentrating on are the ones most affected by the gunfire, especially in the last 30 days. We're doing a lot with patrol saturation, a lot of walk and talk in the area to engage the people in the community to try to solve these seven homicide investigations," said JSO Director Michael Williams.

Diallo-Sekour Seabrooks, also lives in the area of Sixth Street and is running for City Council in the district. Seabrooks told Channel 4 he wants to see change and that people in the neighborhood need to be held accountable.

"One thing we have to note is these crimes are not random shootings. These are individuals that know each other, not random. These are small time drugs, domestic. These are all people that generally know each other," said Seabrooks. 

The Sheriff's Office wants to remind the public that their gun bounty program in Duval County is designed to get weapons off the streets in hopes of stopping violent crimes.

The Sheriff's Office is also encouraging the community to make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers1-866-845-TIPS, with any information about the seven homicides that remain still unsolved just this month.