JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – According to a new report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, while the overall crime rate was down in Florida last year, violent crimes actually increased by more than 2%.
Nearly 1,300 people were murdered statewide, which is up nearly 15% from 2019. Nearly 80% of the murders last year involved a firearm.
Duval County had 143 murders in 2020 -- the most homicides since News4Jax has been keeping records and the highest number of murders per capita of any county in Florida. This week, police said a man was shot and killed walking through the parking lot of the Popeyes on Dunn Avenue. The incident happened hours after a separate shooting less than a mile away where a man was shot in the shoulder.
According to our records, more than 200 people have been shot so far in 2021 including 20 juveniles. This is down compared to this time last year. But according to our records, gun violence in Jacksonville has been trending up in recent years. Last year, the number of people shot was up more than 42% from 2019. Homicides involving guns also increased.
The city and several organizations have been actively trying to reduce the violence. News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said more needs to be done to make sure guns are obtained and sold legally.
“We’ve got to do a better job of hitting the black market, that’s where a lot of gun sales are done in the black market. We’ve got to do a better job with corrupt gun salespeople, they’ll sell to anybody regardless of the rules, they just want to make the money and then crooks get those guns and sell to someone else to buy them and they use these in felonies,” explained Jefferson.
He also said gun owners need to properly secure their guns.
“A lot of weapons are left in vehicles, bad guys know that, even if it’s not in plain sight, they’ll take your gun and use it for felonious offenses. So overall everyone’s got to be involved because violence with these guns is not going to decrease. It’s almost like drugs in our community and our society, you’ll never be able to stop it but you can contain it,” added Jefferson.
Our records do who the number of homicides is down right now compared to this time last year.
President Joe Biden is expected to lay out new steps Wednesday afternoon to reduce the spike in national violent crimes with a particular focus on gun violence.