Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

A Tale of Two Cities: Jacksonville & Atlanta

Police Tape - crime scene do not cross isolated on white background

I don’t venture often into downtown Jacksonville for the same reason I rarely visited downtown Atlanta when I resided in that city’s outskirts — crime.

Atlanta and Jacksonville share a lot in common. They both have beautiful rivers running through them, that they have never capitalized on — Atlanta the Chattahoochee and Jacksonville the St. Johns. City leaders in both places should take a trip to Chattanooga or Pittsburgh to see what can be done when a city decides to clean up its act and take advantage of a beautiful natural resource.

Both Jacksonville and Atlanta also share a propensity for lousy schools and corrupt and inept national and local politicians. That’s a story for another time.

But back to the crime scene.

Atlanta has a central downtown attraction call “Underground Atlanta” that was safe and fun back in the early 1970s but has since turned into a cluster of shuttered restaurants, sleazy t-shirt shops, panhandlers  and crime. Jacksonville has The Landing. I’ve been there twice, with no intention of returning as I didn’t see anything there that Atlanta’s Underground didn’t offer in terms of uneasiness.

When I last lived in Atlanta I would travel to downtown only to visit clients at their request. I usually attempted to park as close as possible to their location to avoid the swarms of panhandlers that invariably approached as I walked to my destination. On one such occasion I watched as a young black man grabbed a middle aged woman’s purse and, while fleeing, fell face down in the middle of Marietta Street when his sagging pants dropped around his ankles. The police nonchalantly walked over to the dim thief, cuffed him, and handed the bag back to its owner.

Both cities have astronomical crime rates and are clueless on how to control them. Jacksonville’s homicide rate continues as the highest in the state, a dubious honor when Florida boasts the city of Miami, with a population significantly higher and which had a TV show (Miami Vice) about crime filmed there. Jacksonville, without a South Beach, apparently isn’t glamorous enough to rate its own crime show despite the fact it boasts more crime. Yesterday, an obituary for a 19-year-old man appeared in the Florida Times-Union, and in it his family declared that the deceased young man was the city’s 35th homicide victim.

So far this year Jacksonville has recorded 40 or more homicides an average of 10 a month, with victims ranging from a 22-month old toddler to a 66-year-old. According to website Neighborhood Scout, Jacksonville is rated only 8th in safety in the U.S. with 100 being considered the safest while its residents have a one in 22 chance of becoming a victim of crime. Those are odds I don’t care to test.

Here’s a few more startling facts according to that site:

  • The overall crime rate in Jacksonville is 56% higher than the national average.
  • For every 100,000 people, there are 12.67 daily crimes that occur in Jacksonville.
  • The number of total year over year crimes in Jacksonville has increased by 2%.

The city recently touted the fact that arrests in its school system are down significantly. But that’s not because the offenses have tapered off. Nope. It’s because the school superintendent there changed the way they are reported, saying that instead of calling the cops, the schools were taking care of their miscreants themselves. I’m sure the kids feel a lot safer now and their parents and teachers must be very relieved.

Oh, Jacksonville is also ranked as the worst pedestrian city in the United States. So if you don’t get shot, robbed or raped, you’ll probably get run over.

According to Jacksonville Sheriff’s office records, residents aren’t safe no matter the time of day. More than half of the robberies are committed from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. while half of the residential burglaries take place between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m.

One thing Jacksonville is well known for is its vast number of good hospitals and medical centers and based on the city’s crime rate they obviously stay busy.

In both Atlanta and Jacksonville the majority of the crime victims and perpetrators are black, which brings up an interesting issue that occurred on the presidential campaign trail recently. When speaking on behalf of his wife, Bill Clinton, took on the outrageous Black Lives Matters group that disrupted one of his speeches by screaming that the former president’s policies that reduced crime nationally, were anti-black. To his credit the former President wagged a finger at the protestors and exclaimed “You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter.” He then went on to detail how his policies reduced crime and saved lives. Good for him!

However, at a later date Mr. Clinton said he “almost wanted to apologize” for the incident, a sign that liberal politicians have gone completely off the rails and will suck up to even the lowest of the low lives for a vote.

The fact that most of the crime is directed toward blacks by other blacks due to a break down in the black family culture and a growing welfare state is considered off limits — insensitive and taboo. In fact according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011 statistics, which appear to be the latest, 6,739 black men in the U.S. were murdered mostly by young men like themselves.

Combine the politically correct “stick-your-head-in-the-sand” nonsense with a frightening national growing anti-police sentiment; the current president waging a campaign to free convicted felons from prison; and pandering liberal politicians who won’t tell the truth, I only see Jacksonville’s crime rate getting worse.

None of this makes Jacksonville an appealing destination.


Speaking Of Losers: As of this writing the Atlanta Braves baseball team is the worst in the major leagues and from what I’ve seen it has very little hope for improvement in what its management has declared a “rebuilding period.” On the taxpayer’s dime the city has allowed the team to flee crime-ridden downtown Atlanta to the safer northern suburbs of Cobb County in 2017. Since there’s nothing to write home about with the dreadful play of this miserable team, all the focus appears to be on promoting the end of Turner Field, and the opening of the new stadium next year. I dodged many a panhandler while walking to the entrance of  the 1996-built Turner Field when I was a resident of that city, and eventually gave up attending the major league team games with $20 parking fees and $7.00 beers, for the AAA Gwinnett Braves with $2.00 brews, cheap hot dogs and low crime, just north of where I lived in DeKalb County. Since the current Atlanta Braves are playing ball no better than an AAA club, why not pay less, be safer, and go see the real thing.


Check This Out: If you know anything at all about the Library of Congress, you know that you just can’t walk in off a Washington, D.C. street and check out the latest Steve Berry book or any other book for that matter. And even if they had what you wanted you couldn’t walk out the door with it. But apparently the occupants of the White House are unaware of the fact that the Library of Congress is a research institute and an archive, because when President Obama nominated Dr. Carla Hayden as the 14th librarian of Congress, the White House produced a four-minute video touting Dr. Hayden’s tenure as chief of the Baltimore library system. In the video President Obama boasted that she’d be the first African-American to hold that job as well as the first woman. And Dr. Hayden herself described a library as an a haven for young people, a neighborhood refuge in times of civil strife, a place to get a job or get the latest Harry Potter . Really? Despite her race, her gender, and her background it appears that this lady, who may be an excellent librarian, is totally unqualified for this position, that is best suited for scholars, not librarians. People that formerly held that post were historians and academics. I guess the four-minute taxpayer funded promotional video was supposed to misinform those who don’t know the purpose of  the Library of Congress. Is this clueless and pompous president ever embarrassed by the outrageous “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” nonsense he spouts?  If he had a British accent, he’d be a character right out of a Monty Python sketch.


Something To Think About: There are five people left in the race to become president of the United States. Four of them live off the government on the tax payer’s dime and they are all complaining about the one who doesn’t.


Koch Brothers! They’re The Real Thing: When I served as a public relations officer at ITT’s European headquarters in Brussels in the 1980s my staff and I developed programs designed to explain to the general public the value of the multitude of products and services the huge conglomerate produced. Since the Fortune top 20 , $22 billion revenue-producing ITT consisted of hundreds of diverse companies worldwide including Sheraton Hotels, Hartford Life Insurance, Avis Rental Cars, Burpee Seeds, Scott Fertilizer, Wonder Bread, Rayonier, and a vast array of telecommunications and data processing, oil, automotive and hundreds of other enterprises — the greatest agglomeration of businesses ever gathered under one corporate tent — we rightly concluded in our promotional material, that even if they wanted to, it was unlikely most people could get through a typical day without using an ITT product or service. The publically traded company, that was once the fifth largest employer in the U.S. with 400,000 breadwinners, no longer exists, broken up by shareholders and management that decided that its separate parts were worth more than the whole. However, today the privately held Koch Industries makes ITT look tiny in comparison. This Wichita based behemoth brings in more than $115 billion annually and its products and services range from fibers in carpets (Stainmaster), toilet paper (Angel Soft), stretch material in jeans and yoga pants (Lycra), connections in phones (Molex) windows (Guardian), fertilizers, pipelines that deliver gas and oil and much, much more. They also manage to irritate the hell out of liberals because David and Charles Koch not only provide jobs for more than 100,000 folks in 60 countries, but they also provide money to a variety of  conservative causes and Republican candidates. Their super PAC, the Freedom Action Fund, doles out millions. The two brothers are also extremely generous in charitable causes  as well. The left and its main stream media partners are vocal on why they hate the two brothers, but surprisingly silent on their billionaire benefactor George Soros, the financial backer of such nasty groups as Media Matters and Black Lives Matter. As far as I can tell this greedy Hungarian-born ideologue refugee to the U.S. contributes nothing to our society but money to finance anti-American hatred. Can anyone prove me wrong here?


Read All About It: The 2016 issue of the Amelia Island News-Wrecker is now available free in a variety of bars, restaurants and shops across the island, so if you want to read about the massive iceberg that is threatening to inundate the island and much more, then grab a copy while they’re hot off the presses. It will be online sometime in mid-May.


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: This coming May the Amelia River Cruises will feature a number of cruises ranging from informative trips through our coastal waters to fun “booze-cruise” excursions that feature live music. The adult BYOB trips that are usually captained by local character Pajamadave Voorhees are scheduled from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with the following musicians: May 6, Larry LeMeir; May 7, Jim Barcaro; May 13, Sean McCarthy (sold out); May 14, Yancy Clegg; May 20, Jim Barcaro; May 21, Dan Voll; May 22, Jim Barcaro; May 27, Larry LeMeir; May 28, Dan Voll. For more information or to purchase tickets call 904/261-9972 or go to As soon as I receive them I’ll provide details are as they come in for the June 10-11 Battle of the Beach BBQ & Bluegrass Festival to be held at Main Beach Park, but mark your calendar as it will be fun event.


  • Comment (8)
  • Speaking numbers . . .

    1,000,000 people turn felon in the US every year.

    Approximatively 8.6 % of the US population are felons.
    Approximatively 14 % of Flotida population are felons.
    And . . . 35 % of the Orida adult black population are felons.

    But . . . dare to point that out and be called racist.

    It’s just bad black leadership.

    The hardest thing to be, I think, in the US, is being a black conservatives.

    “Your people” call you “uncle Tom” yet, you have to do more to prove white people that you have s brain.

    So sad.

  • Maybe city leaders in Jacksonville could learn something from how New York City was cleaned up by Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner, William Bratton, in the 1990s. Looks like Jax could apply the “broken windows theory of urban decay” to reduce its crime. NYC also has great parks and walks along its rivers, not to mention the great re-building of the World Trade Center area after the devastation of 9/11/2001. Jax could be such a beautiful city. It’s current condition downtown is a shame.

  • I agree about the crime rate in Jax,it has gotten worse over time.I grew up there and for many years it was a good place to be.Now,not so much with the black on black crime rate exploding in the northwest areas and the mixed race crime in Arlington.Friends tell me that this area is like a war zone,with so many different races at odds with each other.However,Jax did take advantage of the river back in the WWII years,there were many ship repair yards on both side of the river.But now that has given way to sleek high rise hotels and office buildings.The river is in so much better condition now regarding pollution which took many years and millions of dollars.

  • I passed through Underground Atlanta about 7 years ago, while on a business trip. Pretty creepy, if I recall correctly.
    By the way – I read your press release in the FB Observer a couple of days ago and your readers should know that the 2016 Newswrecker is available online NOW. Great stuff!

  • Dave: Always find your articles informative. Some reason I stopped receiving them (this issue was forwarded to me. Please look into this. I want to receive

  • The only reason that you quit visiting downtown Atlanta is that all of the bars refused to extend your tabs. lol

  • As an officer here with CPD in Chattanooga I would argue Chattanooga is just as bad with a SEVERE gang problem and very high violent crime rate. What you see on Chattanooga’s river front is a facade (a poorly executed one at that), and per capita Chattanooga’s crime rate is worse then that of Jacksonville. There are roughly 9.8 violent crimes per 1000 residents in Chattanooga where as in Jacksonville there are roughly 6.98. Granted, this still is not very admirable for Jax, but when you consider Chattanooga is a city of approximately 174k residents and Jax is approximately 850k it is a very sad state of affairs here in Chattanooga. Per capita Chattanooga is one of the most violent cities in the country for its size/population and TN in and of itself does not fair very well either. Ranking at number 3 in domestic violence related homicides and in at number 3 for most violent states in the U.S.A. TN has some issues indeed. Granted, FL comes in at number 5 for most violent states, but when one considers the overwhelmingly larger land area and population size of FL the problems we face here in Chattanooga are unsettling indeed.

  • I also forgot to add…Jacksonville rates at an 8 for safety out of 100 as you stated. Chattanooga rates at 2.


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