Mayor Lenny Curry is touting in his campaign ads that Jacksonville is on the Rise. I have to agree with him on that point – Crime IS rising in Jacksonville.
We woke up Monday morning to this headline:
No this isn’t the wild, wild west — it’s our hometown – Jacksonville. An actual gunfight took place near the OMNI Hotel across from the Times Union Performing Arts Center and near The Landing. It was an amazing discovery and we wondered — “Where were the police?
ANSWER: They were just down the street a few blocks and that type of crime happened right under their nose.
Our city has big dreams. They have handed out big incentives to develop downtown. They are in negotiations with a billionaire NFL franchise owner to develop along the riverfront and handout big incentives on that deal too. And EYE wants all of those deals to be a success because we are partners in those deals.
However, we also want more focus on the crime issue and we want it NOW. No more fancy pants talk about developing downtown if you can’t figure out how to make downtown safe for all of us AND for VISITORS.
And here’s a funny one to add to this drama: Our Mayor recently threw out his internal plan to force out the Landing owners, tear it down and make it a large public park – The Landing Park? Well, Mr. Mayor, that’s a dumb idea sir. If you can’t keep the streets safe across from The Landing, how the heck do you think you can make a park safe where all the drug dealers, homeless people and gun toting criminals will hang out?
It’s time to take a serious look at the crime in Jacksonville and do something about it. Until that happens, all those lofty dreams for downtown development will be shot full of holes – literally.