Crime is biggest issue as mayoral candidates face off during radio forum

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The candidates running to become Jacksonville’s next mayor, Republican Daniel Davis and Democrat Donna Deegan, are offering different strategies to address the biggest issue people in the River City are facing: Crime.

The two candidates faced off Tuesday during a radio forum on WOKV, where they talked about how they would reduce crime, including reviving parts of an old program.

Both Deegan and Davis said they would add more police officers to the streets, but they would also look at prevention and intervention.

During that forum, Deegan mentioned funding 100 new officers for Jacksonville’s streets. Davis is planning on doubling that number.

“I am going to add 200 new police officers to the street,” Davis said. “But that does not mean just enforcement. Enforcement is critically important. It is a triage situation of we have to get men and women in blue in the highest crime areas, but we also need to focus on how we keep children out of the criminal justice system.”

Both said they are open to bringing back, in some form, parts of the Jax Journey, which was a crime prevention program. It launched in 2007 and was funded by former Mayor John Peyton. Then the next mayor, Alvin Brown, worked with a smaller budget and reduced funding for it from 2011 to 2015.

In 2017, current Mayor Lenny Curry consolidated Jax Journey with the Children’s Commission to create the Kids Hope Alliance.

“It was very effective, and we stopped funding it,” Deegan said during the forum. “The same folks that are running his campaign, other folks that decided to move on from it. I would pay for it the same way we are going to pay for those extra police officers. We have a city that over the last eight years, we have seen just mired in a terrible murder rate. Four times per capita that of New York City. We have to do more than just put more officers on the street.”

Voter turnout for the May election is just over 4% with more than 28,000 mail-in ballots already returned.

If you need more information on the candidates and the election, you can check out our Voter’s Guide.

About the Author: