ANJ Investigates

Action News Jax Investigates: Mapping a safer Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The first promise newly-elected Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters made to the public to make the city safer was to redraw the map the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office uses to police it.

In his first interview after his victory speech, he told Action News Jax Investigator Emily Turner, “we will work on strategically placing our manpower in places that need the most help to get ... around the city.”


The current map JSO uses to do that was created in 1996. It consists of six zones and lot has changed since then.

Just in terms of population, Duval County had a population of 744,682 people, according to the 1996 census. Fast forward to the latest census in 2020 and a population of 995,567, a benchmark Jacksonville has since surpassed.

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The sheriff’s office wants these changes to be reflected in the boundaries and layout of the way it protects the city, a city that put reducing violent crime at the top of its list when choosing the next top cop.

“You just hate to see what’s going on in Jacksonville,” said Kim in early January, at the scene of yet another deadly shooting in Jacksonville, “and good luck to the sheriff for trying to get things taken care of.”

We pulled the yearly numbers on violent crime, broken down by zone, to give you an idea of how and where it’s shifted across the city over time. The earliest data JSO had for that was 2009.

The earliest data JSO had for each zone was 2009

The zones with the most violence are four and five, highlighted in orange and purple on the above map. 2009 was a particularly violent year, but overall, the data shows violent crime remains relatively consistent over time, as do the zones affected, four and five. JSO said a re-draw of the zones will help distribute the burden of policing those crimes more evenly.

Zone data for 2022

JSO said it also hopes it’ll help build back public opinion.

“How do we do that,” Waters told Action News Jax when he was running for the office, “we build our trust back up.”

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Public trust was a major problem highlighted by all five of the candidates running for sheriff. The one who beat them all said a new patrol zone map is the first step to bridging that gap. It would shrink the areas of responsibility for officers allowing for better placement of manpower and “a system more akin to the beat system.”

Waters also said smaller territories will allow officers to get to calls faster, something that it believes will increase solvability. We requested the current response times for each zone, but JSO said it doesn’t have that information.

As for when that new map will be ready, JSO didn’t have a date. In a statement it said, “this is a very in-depth process. While it is actively being worked on, there is not a definitive ‘live’ date as of yet.”

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