City Council President Aaron Bowman is continuing to push for a strategic plan that will focus on crime and safety as the No. 1 priority, he said at a meeting of former council presidents Monday.
Since taking office, Bowman has been advocating a longer-term vision by the city government in the form of a strategic plan that extends over a five-year stretch and is revised as needed annually.
One element of that will be on tonight’s council agenda. Bowman said he expected it to pass without dissent.
At the meeting in the Mudville Grille, Bowman also discussed ongoing projects that are expected to produce more growth for the city.
Jacksonville is poised for growth because of its quality of life, ports, geography and educational facilities, he said.
The current river deepening project and the development around the football stadium downtown are two projects Bowman cited as being beneficial. He also spoke of a need for more affordable housing and job training.
While public safety always is a concern, and is the primary duty of government, the justification for the focus on crime is not entirely clear.
Bowman attributed it to two recent shootings, one at a school and one at the Jacksonville Landing.
Those did cause an outcry. But the fact is crime has been tending down in Jacksonville.
This is not necessarily a result of beefing up the police presence, which the city has done.
The same trend prevails throughout Florida.
In Duval County, the number of serious crimes as a ratio of the population has gone from 6,412 10 years ago to 4,230.
It is not uncommon for government to begin finding solutions to problems after they are becoming less serious, rather than as they are emerging. If that is the case here, Jacksonville residents should hope the city doesn’t expend large amounts of money on a problem that is shrinking.