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Results from group studying crime trends in Jacksonville

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Updated: 12/16/2009 7:37 am
Students in a criminology class at UNF are telling city leaders what programs are working to help make Jacksonville a better and safer place to live.    

Dr. Michael Hallett has been studying crime trends for a long time. He's the chair of the criminology and criminal justice program at UNF.

This semester he put his students to work, figuring out how to decrease the crime in the city they live in. "We had people from the program go to school, we went out with people in the programs," said Dr. Hallett.

It's a called Jacksonville Journey. It was created under Mayor Peyton to help figure out how to make Jacksonville a better and safer community. This semester students looked at 9 different programs, including kids after school programs and ones that help ex offenders get back into the work force. "Our major finding is that some of the programs are more fully implemented than others," said Dr. Hallett.

Here's what else they found. "67 percent of children in after school programs can't access them cause we don't have enough of them," said Dr. Hallett. Dr. Hallett says its programs like these that really help kids stay off the streets and out of crime.

The other thing students found was how the ex offender program is working. It's still pretty new. It helps people like  who get out of jail find jobs and get back into the working world. It's a program Mayor Petyon fought to keep in the budget and help keep people from going back to jail. "It's not just about officers or jail bed, it's about school programs and and people out of incarceration getting help," said Mayor Peyton.

The biggest problem Dr. Hallett's class found was that many of the programs are still too new to really get numbers on the impact they're having on crime. "It's difficult to measure outcomes because we're not sure what's being documented," said Dr. Hallett.

The program they say is doing the best is the state attorney's office. They found they're prosecuting more cases and bringing more people to trial.
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