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Fort Myers City Council discuss crime rate as nation sees uptick in violent crimes

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 22:09:32-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — An uptick in nationwide crime has caused some concern for one Fort Myers City Council member.

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, the discussion on violent crime was one of the top agenda items.

”It’s an epidemic that somewhere is not in retreat.”

It’s a topic that was one of concern during the Fort Myers’ City Council meeting Monday- a rise in crime. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the annual crime report showed crime throughout Florida was down in 2020. However, there’s been a rise in violent crime.

“Violent crime is a health problem," said Johnny Streets, Councilman for the City of Fort Myers Ward 2. "But you also have to look at the other issues of communities and policing. You have to ring those things in together to come up with an operational plan. The police department has one, but there are some things we can do. We can’t leave it totally up to law enforcement to solve the issues.”

Here in Fort Myers, there have been a reported 513 violent crimes this year. As well as a total of 2,001 property crimes. And yet, recently, the city ranked 8th as one of the safest cities in the nation.

“That really scares me when we can be considered eighth in the country as being safe because it only takes one incident and that’s out the window,” said Streets.

During Monday night’s meeting, Streets opened the discussion by providing solutions to the threat of crime. One being community infrastructure- with an emphasis on family values and education.

“The institutions within that community, such as schools and churches, all of this is a part of crime prevention," Streets said. "Parenting is the most important thing because that’s where it starts- it starts at home.”

Streets said he would also like to see more community engagement opportunities for police. He says the work the department has done under the command of Chief Derrick Diggs has been crucial, but the job is far from over.

“We have to continue to do the things that we’ve been doing- support the police, support the community, be involved in ourselves, talk to our constituents, and mentor.”