CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Multiple viewers have contacted News4Jax with their concerns about crime around one of the Orange Park area’s busiest corridors: Wells Road.
The concerns come after a double shooting over the weekend at The Daq Shack on Wells Road near the Orange Park Mall.
Many commenters spoke out about the issue in the News 4 Clay County Facebook group.
“The crime in that area is bothersome,” one commenter wrote.
Another said: “Way too much crime at and around that mall.”
But News4Jax also spoke with people who live in the area and tell a different story.
“I’ve never had problems with people around here. I love this community,” said Susan Passero, who moved to Orange Park from California in the last couple of years.
Passero said she lives in an apartment complex on Wells Road and hasn’t noticed problems.
News4Jax analyzed crime statistics over the last six months on Wells Road and compared them to two other heavily trafficked parts in the Orange Park area -- the area around Orange Park Medical Center on Kingsley Avenue and South Blanding Boulevard near the Orange Park Walmart. Using the Clay County Sheriff’s Office crime mapping tool, in a half-mile radius, News4Jax found Wells Road only had a slightly higher number of calls to law enforcement: 165 on Wells Road, 154 on Blanding Boulevard and 149 on Kingsley Avenue.
But News4Jax found one large discrepancy in the numbers: the number of drug arrests in those areas. Wells Road had many more. There were 17 on Wells Road, three on Blanding Boulevard and one on Kingsley Avenue in that same time frame.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office also pointed out that crime has been relatively low on Wells Road in the last two weeks, with only 13 incidents that drew the agency’s attention, some of which were isolated cases that involved repeat and known offenders.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson pointed out that Wells Road is a very busy area with a lot of businesses and apartment complexes that can point to higher than average numbers for law enforcement calls.
“You’ve got a lot of activity going on all the time there,” Jefferson said. “Could it be subjected to crime more so than any other? It could be because it’s so heavily populated.”