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Forum seeks solutions to curb violence in Fort Myers

Posted at 7:44 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-01 19:44:36-04

He's a city councilman now, but for former Fort Myers police officer Johnny Streets, reducing crime is still a top priority. While the number of murders in the city decreased in 2017 from 2016, Streets is concerned about the repeated cycle of violence.

"It gets old," he said. "We have the funeral, we say a few good words, and then after everything dies down, we're back to the same thing again."

He believes that a number of the shootings that have taken place in Fort Myers over the past few years began as disputes on social media. He hopes that people in the community can help put a stop to the violence by alerting police if they see arguments online that turn threatening.

"If we get the upper hand, maybe we can alert law enforcement that something may be going down," Streets said. "Or if you're in the neighborhood and you see anything suspicious, maybe you should make a call."

Streets hosted a meeting Thursday night at the Riverside Community Center, including an open forum on community safety. He believes improved technology - and improved cooperation between police and the community - will lead to more crimes getting solved. He sees the quick arrest of accused mail bomber Cesar Sayoc as a hopeful example.

"How in the world, within three or four days, can we find somebody like a needle in a haystack that's sending bombs all over the country...when we have these shootings over a period of years (in Fort Myers) and we can't find anybody?" he asks.

The meeting Thursday included a moment of silence for the 11 people killed in the recent shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.