Sheriff Mike Williams: Crime continues to decline in Jacksonville

Jacksonville sheriff speaks 1-on-1 with Kent Justice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The overall reports of crime seem huge — in 2021, there were more than 31,000 calls for service in Duval County. But compare that to almost 33,000 in 2020 and more than 36,000 in 2019.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams calls that a good sign.

“We have spent a lot of time and effort focused on that violent crime number for many years now,” Williams said. “We’ve seen a very positive trend this year and we’re going to, obviously, hope to work to keep that keep that trend going.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office released crime figures for 2021 and noted homicides compared to 2020 were down 26%. The statistics show murders dropped by almost 23%.

Gunfire incidents and shooting victims were also down year-to-year — in those cases, by 20.5%.

I asked what Williams attributed the decline to.

“I think if you go back several years and we talk about the investments, we talked about making some new technology that will help us in investigations, investments we made including more officers on the street. This is the the outcome of that,” Williams said.

The sheriff said JSO has increased the number of crimes solved, pointing to the clearance rate that went from about 43% in 2020, up to almost 78% in 2021.

Citywide traffic fatalities were nearly identical year-to-year — both just over 200. Motorcycle deaths, however, nearly doubled from 25 to 47.

“You’ve got to look at it like this. This is about education of pedestrians, education of drivers. And, obviously, people who operate motorcycles,” Williams said.

Not listed on the report, but still an issue with public safety — Williams talked about human trafficking.

“I get the question all the time. How prevalent is this in Jacksonville? The only thing I can tell you is: Very,” Williams said.

Sheriff Williams told us several times – any success at fighting crime comes from cooperation in the community.

He says JSO’s efforts there continue every day.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.