Westside sees spike in major crimes in last 10 days

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Westside sees its share of crime in Jacksonville. But over the last 10 days, it has spiked.

Crime scene tape is constantly blocking off buildings and streets.

"The seriousness, the heinousness of these murders and robberies has been very, very unusual," said Kevin Kuzel, executive assistant to District 14 councilman Jim Love.

A man was arrested Tuesday after police said he kidnapped and raped a 16-year old girl. On Sunday, brothers Matthew and Andrew Bohannon were killed in a drug deal robbery in the Golden Corral parking lot off Normandy Boulevard, according to police.

The day before, Michael Siegrist was killed while trying to stop the robbery of a friend at a Jammes Road bus stop.

On July 8, Robert Sutton was cleaning after hours at MOJO no.4 Urban BBQ Whiskey Bar in Avondale when a man attempting to rob him shot and killed him, police said.

In another robbery just down the street and around the same time, the manager at CVS was shot in the head and survived.

The next day, police shot the robbery suspect, Herman Pickens.

And on July 7, Terry Sikes was killed in a hit-and-run on his bicycle by two gunmen who had just robbed a man in front of the Wesconnett post office. All but one of those crimes have led to arrests.

"It's amazing to us that the JSO has been able to clear these cases so rapidly, a number of them with such budget constraints that they've had to work under over the past couple of years," Kuzel said. "So they're doing a fantastic job."

Kuzel said this recent crime outbreak was the focus of a Sheriff's Advisory Council meeting Tuesday night. He said many highly ranked officers attended.

"The citizens are very, very important in solving these crimes," Kuzel said. "In other words, they need to report anything that they see very quickly to JSO."

Those who live in the area say they are paying attention.

"It's unfortunate that these things are happening, but really crime happens everywhere," said Gigi Gonzales, who frequents Avondale. "You just have to be vigilant and prepared for anything like that, and with the increased attention to it, if anything it's more safe, I believe, because of the attention that's been brought about."

"We've never really felt unsafe here," said Andrew Vihlen, who lives in Avondale. "We always go on walks at night, we've got a big dog so that kinda helps, but we're not going to let it change the way we live."

Copyright 2013 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.