Fort Myers mayor says city not as violent as media portrayal

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 16:55:12-04

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson is responding to national publications that paint the city as dangerous.

The national media attention follows the deadly Club Blu nightclub shootings this week and the deadly Zombicon attack last October.

Mayor Henderson said at least one national newspaper reported that Fort Myers has a violent crime rate that is "about triple the national average, and significantly higher than those of any of Florida's large cities except Miami."

But the mayor notes that since 2002, the city's crime rate has actually decreased.  And as the urban center of Lee County, the city swells each day from 79,000 to more than 100,000 as people work, eat and seek entertainment in the city.

The mayor also defended the city's efforts to make the city safer by installing 118 video cameras downtown, establishing a joint task force among law enforcement to stop crimes before they occur, hiring a new police chief to lead the department forward, hiring additional police officers, increasing the focus on community policing, revitalizing economically depressed areas, and auditing the police department.

Mayor Henderson says "Fort Myers is a wonderful place to call home, and those causing the problems in our city represent a very small percentage of our community.  We implore all of our citizens to help us get these individuals off the streets by acting as additional eyes and ears for law enforcement.  No matter where you live, if you see something, if you know something, come forward and speak up before something happens.  You never know whose life you may be saving."