JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a string of shootings in Arlington -- eight people shot in the last six days -- has city leaders speaking out on the gun violence.
Two of the people shot in the last week were in separate incidents on Arco Drive. One was behind businesses at a strip mall, a father and son on a youth football field and one just off Arlington Expressway.
The community has nearly tripled its number of homicides -- 18 already this year.
They say this isn’t just an Arlington problem but a Jacksonville problem. There is concern growth of Jacksonville University and businesses along University Boulevard is being overshadowed by a threat of violence.
“I’m frustrated because the location of much of this violence is along University Boulevard near Fort Caroline, where we have so many good things happening in Arlington,” said Ron Salem, the at-large councilman from the Arlington and Beaches.
The youth football game Sunday is an example of programs designed for children to have outlets, but it turned deadly for a man and wounded his 7-year-old son. The city told News4Jax said the permit for the youth football game Sunday was denied because one of the organizations declined to pay for police officers to staff the game.
“There are many activities like this where kids win a championship and they move on to the next level and it was difficult to get the travel money because you have to go through a legislative process and it takes a long time," City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan. said. “So that is the same kind of issue that we can look at when people may not be able to pay for that permit but we want our kids to play.”
A member of the Florida Legislature said part of the solution is gathering more resources for the county.
“From the state side, it’s obvious that we need more prevention and intervention dollars coming from the state of Florida,” said Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville. “Not just for Duval County but for all of the counties. This is personal for us, but tragedies like this are happening throughout the state of Florida every day. But because this is our home. We have to fix our home.”
This shooting and others in Arlington are under investigation, but leaders encourage residents to speak up for their communities as one way to get violence off the street.
Outside of the personal responsibility Morgan said the community has, she’s also reaching out to Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams for the resources they can bring to Arlington.
“He has told us that there is certainly some technology being worked on and just some other programs that he’s been working on,” Morgan said.
They couldn’t give details on what technology or programs but said the information should come next week.
Morgan is hosting a town hall on Zoom at 6 p.m. Monday to get citizen input.