Sheriff candidates react to rising homicide numbers in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There have been more homicides in Jacksonville this year than in all of 2021, and there are still two months left in 2022.

132 homicides have already been committed this year.

That’s one more than the city saw in all of 2021, and 17 more than the city had seen at this point last year.

Those numbers come directly from JSO’s Transparency Portal.

Action News Jax spoke with both sheriff candidates Wednesday for their reaction and their plan to stop the violence.

Republican TK Waters and Democrat Lakesha Burton said the sobering statistic is unacceptable.

“We need a change in this city,” said Burton.

“One homicide is too much period,” said Waters.

Burton emphasized the need for a focus on community policing to help resolve conflicts in societies before they spill over into violence.

“We have to begin to look at our crime problem from a more comprehensive approach and that involves more education, communication, building strong relationships on the front end, intervention, prevention, strong partnerships and enforcement all collectively together,” said Burton.

Waters also highlighted community involvement but focused primarily on targeted patrols and more boots on the ground.

“By adding more policemen, by making our patroller’s responsibility smaller, we can get closer to our community and work together better,” said Waters.

Waters noted Jacksonville needs about 400 additional officers to get to the recommended 2.5 officers per 1,000 residents.

“That is the goal. That’s the plan. That’s gonna be my ask and I’ll start right now so then people know that I’m gonna come and ask for those things, but it’s also important for us and me as the sheriff to make sure that we put those resources in the right places,” said Waters.

Burton echoed the sentiment of adequate staffing and targeted patrols, but argued in the end, agencies work best when their communities work with them.

“The police officers can’t do it alone. We need to work hand in hand with our community members to address our crime,” said Burton.

The most recent poll put out by UNF Monday showed Waters with a five-point lead.

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