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Residents share crime concerns with sheriff after 4 shootings

Sheriff Mike Williams holds 'Haircuts and conversations' community forum Tuesday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams listened to Northwest Jacksonville residents' concerns about crime on Tuesday, just one day after one person was killed and four were injured in four separate shootings.

"Haircuts and conversations" was the low-key name given to the serious community forum held at Headquarters Barbershop on Lem Turner Road Tuesday afternoon. 

"The conversation was really interesting. A lot of people had a lot of good views and good questions for him and he answered to the best of his ability. And it was real good," said Scott, the owner of Headquarters Barbershop. 

The barbershop is far more than a place for cutting hair. Often times, it can also be a sanctuary where people discuss personal values, education or politics. But for two hours Tuesday, the clippers stopped and the topic shifted to crime as Williams spoke with more than two dozen community members about their biggest concerns.

"All the crime that's going around the city," said Mildred Jennings, the president of Sherwood Forest Community Network, which is a neighborhood crime watch group.

Jennings said it was important to have her 7-year-old attend the meeting as well. 

"It takes a village. Everyone has to be accountable, know where your kids are and just keep tabs on them," Jennings said. 

Williams said he aimed to be transparent during the forum, answering questions about body cameras, community relations and police-involved shootings. 

News4Jax asked Williams about his thoughts on the four shootings that happened on Labor Day.

"We continue to work on long-term strategies to get ahead of that issue for us. Those street shootings, non-domestic shootings is something we've been focused on now for about eight months. And we've had a little bit of success, but we need to continue to build these relationships in the community," Williams said. 

Scotty said he believes the community needs to come together to combat the crime issues.

"Come together and work with each other. 'Hey man if you see a crime, tell about it and talk about it,' if you want your community to be better," Scott said. 

Williams has plans to hit the streets and speak with more community members this week. He will hold a crime prevention walk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Arlington area, near Woodland Acres Elementary School.