JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Violent crime in Jacksonville continues to be a concern. There were 16 homicides in July, bringing the total for this year to just shy of 100.
News4Jax spoke with Mayor Lenny Curry on Thursday about the concern and what's already been a violent week. There were four shootings in a span of four hours Tuesday night and then a gun battle that sent several people running for cover Wednesday afternoon in a Westside neighborhood.
Curry has said from before he took office that public safety is job one for him, and the efforts now being made to reduce violent crime need time to take effect.
"Anytime you have an evening, a day -- whether it's one or four -- it's frustrating," Curry said. "But ... when I talked to the state attorney, when I talk to the sheriff -- they remind me."
Curry said he is reminded that before he took office, city investment in public safety had been cut.
He said the investments happening now need to be seen through and waited out.
"We've invested in police officers. We've invested in juvenile justice diversion programs, in youth programs, in technology -- crime-fighting technology -- and we're going to continue," Curry said. "We brought in Cure Violence. We're going to continue to do that."
Only one month in 2019 has totaled fewer than 10 homicides. But Curry said giving up or making drastic changes are not an option at this point.
"When you have a terrible evening or a terrible day, you've got to stay the course," he said. "You've got to stay the course because we put the things in place that will protect the people of Jacksonville."