JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- It's a sight that can clear any beachfront and deter customers from beach businesses. Vagrants making Jacksonville's beach their long-term home.
Navy Veteran Sam Riddle pulled himself off the streets several years ago. He says the city has done little to solve the problem.
"Nothing's being done about it," said Riddle.
With 30 percent of this year's beach crimes committed by its homeless population, new Mayor Charlie Latham says it's time to take action.
"When their actions infringe upon the rights of the businesses or citizens, we need to do something in the community," said Latham.
He says he's got a plan nobody has ever seen before, and he gave Action News a first look. He proposes getting a magistrate involved, offering a program to pull people off the streets. Those who don't comply would go to jail, separating those who really need help from those who are just here to cause trouble.
"We know there's a group of folks that are really trying to get a foot up and get back to society," said Latham. "This is about the people that choose to live this lifestyle, and choose to impact others who have rights."
Riddle says the mayor's plan may sound like tough love, but it's just what the Beaches need, and the most hands-on plan he's heard in a long time.
"There's got to be some sort of outreach so these people can get help and get them off the street," said Riddle.
The mayor's plan to discuss his idea and hear others at a public workshop will be held on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Jacksonville Beach City Hall.