Task force wants to pinpoint factors most likely to lead to violent crime in Jacksonville

A city crime task force has come up with an innovative way to figure out the factors most likely to lead to violent crime in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Stopping crime before it happens: A city crime task force has come up with an innovative way to figure out the socioeconomic factors most likely to lead to violent crime in Jacksonville.

The proposal could help the city figure out how to spend tax dollars so they have the most impact.

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Pastor Mark Griffin, the chairman of the Jacksonville Task Force on Safety and Crime Reduction said violent crimes don’t happen in a vacuum.

“Where did they fall off the tracks, if you will? And what can we do to get them back on the tracks before they end up in a situation where they are either the victim of, or the perpetrator of, a violent crime in Jacksonville?” said Griffin.

The task force identified a list of socioeconomic factors related to criminal activity, like unemployment, education levels, poverty, family makeup, neighborhood characteristics, mental health and substance abuse.

As violent crimes are committed in Jacksonville, the task force would use data experts to find out how many of the contributing factors are present in each case.

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The city could then use that data to determine which factors are most likely to lead to violent crime in a given neighborhood, then target those factors with more tax dollars.

“Where do we need more early learning? Where do we need more mentoring programs? Where do we need a program to help with the development of parenting skills?” said Griffin.

The 47-member task force meets again next week.

The task force has been meeting since January; it's now requesting the city give it more time and money to make a difference.