Mayor Seeks Ideas To Stop Crime

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While the sheriff pushes for more officers to stop crime in Jacksonville, Mayor John Peyton has called on some of the most recognizable names in the city to help stop the violence.

This year, there have been 142 homicides in Jacksonville. Last week, Sheriff John Rutherford called the river city the murder capital of the state.

The mayor said he's tired of Jacksonville's reputation as the most violent city in the state and said it's time for action.

"We are closing on 2007 leading the state in murder. We have other indicators I think are related to it. We have the highest infant mortality in the state and the highest dropout rate in the state. We have brokenness in Jacksonville," Peyton said.

He said he is turning to some big names in Jacksonville to come up with a plan to end the violence.

"We are not looking for another task force. We're not looking for a study. We are looking for actionable items," Peyton said.

People like Jaguars' owner Wayne Weaver and former Sheriff Nat Glover will join about 140 others to come up with a solution.

Channel 4 reporter Jim Piggott caught up with Glover Wednesday and asked him about the city's plague of violence, but the former sheriff said he didn't want to say anything until he spoke with the group.

"The mayor has asked me to serve on this committee and I feel honored and privileged to do that. Beyond that, I think we need to wait and see how all of this plays out, and I will be interested to see that. Again, I am honored to be a part of it," Glover said.

For the next several months the mayor said he would hold people accountable for their work.

State Attorney Harry Shorstein told Channel 4 he did not want to comment about the mayor's group, but said more police officers is the answer to the city's crime problem and that he has the highest prosecution rate in the state.

The sheriff has already presented his plans, telling the mayor more officers and more money would work to help curb violence.

"Well, I think there is a resource challenge and it will require a reprioritization of what we are spending money on," Peyton said.

The group is expected to take about 120 days to determine a course of action.

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