JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Since 2019, Cure Violence has been working to reduce crime in the most high-risk areas of Jacksonville. Tuesday, the program presented a proposal for an increase in funding by half a million dollars. The city council’s committee said they needed to see more data about how effective the program is before moving forward.
Some people in the community told News4JAX they believe Cure Violence is making a difference while others said they believe the program has yet to show its true impact.
On Lane Avenue, a road that borders a focus area for Cure Violence, crime has gone down.
According to Cure Violence, the number of crimes in the area from Herlong, 103rd to Hammond Boulevard, decreased from 60 in 2020 to 51 in 2022.
Cure Violence funding is nearly $3.5 million and has increased by about a half a million every year since it began in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Council members expressed a need for more data driven proof that the program is working.
“I brought this up at the last presentation and I still don’t see it. I personally don’t understand why we are not doing that because it would be in my mind the most effective way to show for example if violent crime with guns was going up in those areas and it’s going down in these areas where you have cure violence that would make me a lot more comfortable, I don’t see that,” Council President-elect Ron Salem said.
“The reason you don’t see it is because we just switched over our data analyst person and I don’t want to provide you with anything that is not reviewed and updated that we are comfortable with so you will get that,” Dr. Charles Moreland, Deputy Chief Administrator Officer of the city of Jacksonville said.
A Cure Violence supervisor on the Westside says some of their work is not always seen. “With this program, with us working together, we are able to bring people together that once, didn’t have anybody in the middle to make them comfortable to reach out and talk,” Terron Burton, Supervisor of the westside said.
For the Northside, where the program is being moved and reorganized, Cure Violence shows crime in the focus area since inception of New Kings to Kings Road and Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway, has not decreased. Data shows 52 violent crimes in 2019, 44 in 2020, 59 in 2021 and 55 in 2022.
On the Eastside, the focus area is Winona to East First, North Main to Talleyrand. Cure Violence says the number of incidents has dropped significantly from 70 in 2020 to 64 in 2021 to 48 in 2022.
However, long time businessman, Dana Miller, owner of TheManCave Barbershop, says he hasn’t seen an impact from the program yet. “As a nucleus...the inner core of out east...we had a few drive by shootings from rival gangs. As far as the residents and the people out east it’s really no problem. Well, with Cure Violence, I feel that they need more years I don’t think that Cure Violence has made a impact in this community out east.”
No matter where you live in Jacksonville some days are peaceful and other days are violent. City Council will have to decide if the $3.5 million program is making a difference in crime of if the money should be shifted in a different direction.
Cure Violence has said that in addition to the incidents of violence going down they have also interrupted violence from happening 230 times in the past year.
When News4JAX asked about the half a million-dollar increase request, four team members for Family Foundations and three members from JSO account for the need to increase in funding.