JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For five years, the Jacksonville Journey program has helped keep our streets safer. The Journey is a anti-crime initiative focusing on Jacksonville's kids. And you'll find no bigger fan for the program than Sheriff John Rutherford.
"I attribute a lot of the success of our crime fighting over the last few years to the Jacksonville Journey. Particularly the after school programs and the in school suspension programs. Those are critical, that's what keeps the kids out of our neighborhoods when we're all at work," said Sheriff Rutherford.
"We take children who have been suspended and keep them doing their homework and we keep them up to date with the current studies so when they go back to school they are up to speed to contribute and do not drop out," said Curtis Hart with the Jacksonville Journey.
The Jacksonville Journey had $30 million to spend on anti-crime programs five years ago. That number has since dwindled to about $8.2 million. They initially offered up $958,000 in cuts this year, but now need to find an additional $300,000 to satisfy the mayor. Hart says he's already cut to the bone. He and the sheriff agree that when funding goes down, the crime rate goes up.
"We were known as the murder capital of Florida and I don't want that to happen again," said Hart.
The Jacksonville Journey plans to meet this week to discuss how to cut that extra $300,000.