Mayor Donna Deegan is in London working to bring business and jobs to Jacksonville. But, she made time to talk with News4JAX on Wednesday about the troubling violent crimes happening in the city.
Mayor Deegan has been outspoken on crime initiatives. She said she’s following this closely.
“So I am not going to say this is going to be an easy problem to solve,” Deegan said. “But I think we have to go, we have to look from the root causes of why these things are happening and work our way up. And that comes down to a lot of a lot of education and prevention. The gun laws, as you know, are a tough thing to move.”
People who live in the neighborhoods where the violent crime has happened say changing gun laws would help. One woman told us she doesn’t believe programs to help fight crime are actually reaching the troubled areas.
“It’s not going to where the kids are,” Yvonne Brockington said. “They’re going to people in politics. They’re going to non-profits. The funding does not get to the community.”
Mayor Deegan told News4JAX that is something she’s trying to change.
“That’s why we talk so much about parks. That’s why we talk so much about youth programs. That’s why we talk so much about literacy. You know, that’s one of the things we were investing in with this new budget is literacy,” Deegan said.
Former Assistant Chief at JSO, Lakesha Burton, also spoke with us on Wednesday. Burton is now working for the mayor’s office heading up community initiatives.
When asked about the crime wave and if she believes it will get worse, Burton said, “I don’t know, what could be any worse than this, quite frankly, we’ve had two children murdered over the last, you know, 3 and 6-years-old. So can it get any worse than this and the mass shooting that we had, you know, last month? So, again, I think that our mood should be very somber in our in our city, and people should be asking themselves individually, what can I do? And then collectively, we have to start coming together, strategizing to address these these issues in our city.”
Burton will be overseeing crime initiative programs like the Jacksonville Journey. The mayor is expected back in Jacksonville Monday.