JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A dozen city and state leaders stood with an assistant chief with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, community leaders, pastors and businessmen at the intersection where two men were shot Sunday night after a police chase to ask for more money to fight crime and improve the quality of life in that part of town.
For Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman, who’s grandmother lived five blocks away and represents this district of the city, it’s personal.
“Y’all, it’s a war out here. Immediate help is needed, not a band-aid approach," Pittman said. “This community needs resources ... with some short- and long-term mends.”
Pitman was also with the family of Malik Brown the 18-year-old Lee High School graduate after he was shot and killed Friday night during a robbery attempt on 12th Street off Kings Road, in an adjoining council district in Northwest Jacksonville
“This press conference is about change,” Pittman said. “We’re taking our neighborhoods and our community back.”
Along with Florida state Rep. Kimberly Daniels and others, Pittman is asking for $11 million to fund programs to include everything from police officers walking the beat to trash clean up on sidewalks to bringing jobs to the neighborhood.
She’s also pleading with her neighbors to tell what they know about these crimes to police.
“We need to identify those gang members who are shooting up our community, who are really a liability for our community,” Pittman said. “I need y’all to be eyes and ears. It’s not like you need to snitch, but you got to tell me what’s going on in the community.”
E.B. Johnson has run the Clean Greens Mart on 45th Street near Moncrief Road, selling collards, mustard greens, turnip greens and more for the last 28 years He echoed Pittman’s call for everything from mentors in the local parks to police being more engaged with the community to ferret out the criminal element.
“Go house-to-house, because sometimes people will tell you what the real problem is, but sometimes people are afraid to talk in public. But they will tell you some secrets in secret," Johnson said.
Pittman says she’ll ask that $11 million investment be made available immediately and spent on multiple community and anti-crime initiatives over the next six months specifically in District 8.