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Jacksonville Murders Up Amidst Long-Term Drop In Violent Crime

Brandon Anderson
Flickr Creative Commons

After hitting a 40-year low in 2011, the number of murders in Jacksonville is increasing, according to police.

But some crime-statistics experts say city streets are still safer than they’ve ever been.

In 2011 the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported 72 murders,  the lowest number in 40 years. Fast forward to 2015 and that number has increased by nearly a third to 96.

But Brennan Center for Justice Economist Matt Friedmen says focusing on the year-to-year increase misses the bigger picture.

“The reason is simple: Over the last three decades we have seen, on average, crime has been falling,” Friedman says. “However, public perception has failed to match this.”

Friedman says, generally speaking, the center finds the country’s 30 largest cities, including Jacksonville, have never been safer.

“In the long term, if we were to look from 1990 to today, we would see a precipitous decline in crime rates, violent crime and property crime. If you look over the last few years, it’s more varied, and you might not see as clear of a downward trend,” he says.

Next month, Mayor Lenny Curry will hold a series of community conversations that’ll focus on violent crime and the Jacksonville Journey crime-prevention program.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.