Downtown Vision, Inc. safety paper update

DVI’s Jennifer Hewett-Apperson

“Oh, I never go Downtown. I don’t feel safe!”

How many times have you heard that when talking to someone about Downtown?  I hear this all the time and could not disagree more. Sadly, one of the common misperceptions about Downtown Jacksonville is that it is more dangerous than other parts of town. In a recent Downtown Marketing Collaborative survey, only 33% of respondents think Downtown is safe, 30% are unsure, and 27 % do not think its safe. This could not be farther from the truth.

DVI recently released an updated Safety Paper that provides facts about safety in Downtown Jacksonville.

The fact is that less than 2% of all serious crime in the City of Jacksonville occurs Downtown. Additionally, Downtown has 20 Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office officers on the streets at any given time – that’s more officers per square mile than any other part of the city. DVI’s Downtown Ambassadors are also on the streets seven days a week to provide assistance and an extra set of eyes.

“But what about the homeless people? What do I do if I get panhandled?”

Downtown Jacksonville indeed has a homeless population just like any other major metropolitan area, but the crimes committed by the homeless population are typically non-violent, low-level nuisance crimes. Moreover, it is illegal to panhandle in Downtown Jacksonville. If you are panhandled, do not give money. Instead, call 630-0500 to report it.

The bottom line is Downtown is one of the safest neighborhoods in all of Jacksonville. The key is simply to behave as you would in any other part of town – stow your valuables and lock your car after parking, be aware of your surroundings, and do not give panhandlers money. If you still have concerns, visit our website’s safety information webpage for more information.