JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As of Jan. 17, 11 homicides had been reported in Jacksonville for the year 2023 — and the president of the Northside Coalition, is urging city leaders to consider new ways to curb violent crime.
Ben Frazier has released what he’s calling a “five point plan” to reduce gun violence. Just a day ago, two people were shot in Northwest Jacksonville following what police believe was a dispute. One of the victims died.
Frazier says JSO and city leaders can’t keep approaching crime in the same manner and expect different results.
“We think that there needs to be some more effective and new and creative actions that JSO should take to reduce gun violence,” Frazier said.
Frazier is proposing increased penalties for people caught with guns in city park, sporting events, school campuses and other public areas.
He’s also proposing the city of Jacksonville declare a city-wide cease fire between rivaling gangs, offering himself to meet with their leaders face to face.
“I’m saying if we know who they are, then we should seek to bring these gang leaders to the table,” he said.
“Their beef with each other should never jeopardize or threaten the lives of innocent people,” Frazier added. “Somebody needs to sit down and have a little talk with them. I’m willing to meet with them. If they know who they are, I’m telling you right now, I’m willing to sit down and talk.”
Frazier, who says violent crime is most prevalent in Jacksonville ZIP codes 32206, 32208 and 32209, says it’s part of a community problem that requires a comprehensive solution. He’s asking the Jacksonville City Council to finance a massive job creation program in underserved and marginalized neighborhoods in Jacksonville.
“We need a massive job program. What makes you think you’re going to stop the violence, when there’s in fact a direct connection, that inextricable link if you will, between poverty, unemployment and economic degradation? We’ve got to get these people a job. Give them something to do besides hang out in the streets,” Frazier said.
He’s also calling for the creation of a multimedia “stop the violence” campaign, involving advertising agencies, sports personalities and even local broadcasters.
Frazier is also asking all faith leaders to pray for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
News4JAX reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for comment, which had not been returned by publication of this article.