Crime in Jax drops nearly 4 percent

Violent crime increases; Sheriff says more work needs to be done

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - New statistics reveal overall crime in Jacksonville dropped during the first half of 2012, but violent crime increased.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the number of reported criminal incidents decreased 3.7% in the six month time period.

Resident James Marlow told Channel 4 he has noticed a change and feels a new sense of security when walking in the city.

"I used to see a lot of robberies, but I don't see them anymore," said Marlow. 

Marlow said he thinks the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is responsible for the drop in crime.

Sheriff John Rutherford said he is encouraged by the numbers, but acknowledged that more work needs to be done to make Jacksonville safer.

"I am happy about the numbers because they are still going down, but I am not happy with the numbers," said Rutherford.

In fact, there were 84 more aggravated assaults and three more murders than in the same time period last year, statistics show.

Rutherford disputed reports that Jacksonville will once again be the murder capital of Florida. 

According to Channel's 4 crime expert Ken Jefferson, crime statistics don't show the whole picture.

"Statically, number wise, if you wanted to play the number game, yes, they are down."  

Jefferson said the figures are irrelevant when presented to someone who has just lost a loved one to murder.

"When you live in a neighborhood and people are dying on your street then those [statistics] mean nothing to the average person," said Jefferson.

"Street level drug deals are ground zero for most of the murder and violent crime in this community," said Rutherford.

According to the sheriff, that's what the city has to fight.

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