Jacksonville Councilwoman presents loitering bill to discourage crime, violence


Jacksonville Councilwoman Ju’coby Pittman says it’s time for neighbors in Northwest Jacksonville to take their communities back from all of the crime and violence

She represents District 8 and plans to help make it safer by working to put legislation in place that would discourage loitering.

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Action News Jax Courtney Cole spoke to Pittman to learn how it would work if it’s approved when presented to the full council next Tuesday.

“It’s about having a safe place for people to shop, people to live in,” said James Breaker.

Breaker of the District of Soul Business Association says improving the quality of life is the number one priority.

“Getting the area clean, getting the area free of crime, and then we can get other investors to come in,” Breaker told Action News Jax Courtney Cole.

Councilwoman Pittman believes her anti-loitering bill can help with that.

“Basically, what my bill is, is to make businesses responsible and accountable for activity that is not regulated. "

If her bill were to become law:

  • Large gatherings of 50 people or more, would not be allowed outside of businesses that opt-in.
  • People gathered outside would receive an initial warning from JSO.
  • People who choose to gather again would be fined $25.00 each time after the initial incident.
  • If JSO has to respond to a business owner or property, two times or more. the business could then face a $500.00 fine.

“This bill will impact minorities more than anyone. There is an issue where there are gatherings and things like that, but this bill will have very bad consequences throughout the county,” said Councilman Garrett Dennis of District 9.

Dennis worries the bill could ultimately lead to more arrests of minorities, if police don’t follow protocol outlined in Councilwoman Pittman’s bill.

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Pittman says this is about safety and trying to cut down on gatherings during the pandemic in her district –and throughout Duval County.

Next Tuesday, all city council members will get to vote on it.

The bill needs 10 votes to pass.