The JSO stepped up patrols after receiving several calls about “mafia” activity on weekend evenings at Five Points.
JACKSONVILLE, Florida. Red and blue lights have become common on weekends at five locations in Jacksonville.
The increase in the presence of the police came after the incident, when people crowded into the cars, and some even jumped on the police cars.
“We have received complaints from business owners where, I hate to use the word, there is banditry going on,” JSO Patrol Chief Jamie Eason said.
Eason says the department regularly received complaints about this “mafia” activity at Five Points on the weekends from business owners and people living in the area.
“They took furniture off some bars, threw it around, used it as rockets,” Eason said. “Loud activity and they surrounded the police cars, when they were there they jumped on the police cars. It was out of control and we needed to get it under control.”
Initially, the JSO only had four patrols in the area.
“Four officers are trying to control a thousand people, it’s too dangerous,” Eason said.
Eason says they have made 33 arrests, including 22 felonies, and have confiscated 14 firearms and four vehicles since they stepped up patrols a few months ago.
Corner Taco assistant manager Jacob Mateuska says the increase in cops was something of a catch-22.
“It’s extra security, which you know is nice when employees leave at night and don’t worry about it, but I’ve noticed how it reduces foot traffic here,” Mateuska said.
Now that the department feels they have regained control of the territory, Eason says they’re starting to slow down a bit to find a sweet spot.
For one nightlife lover, the added police won’t keep you from a night out on the town.
“I don’t do anything wrong, I just hang out,” T-Baby said. “If I did something wrong, I would feel uncomfortable, but I don’t do anything wrong, so I’m fine.”
Eason says that in the future, people can expect to see more police not only in Five Points, but throughout downtown and San Marco on weekends when people take to the streets thanks to the department’s recent reorganization of patrol units.
For Five Points in particular, she says that means more cyclists.
However, according to her, the closure of Park Street on weekend evenings is only a temporary measure.