Jackson Bluff neighborhood works to curb continued crime

Posted at 4:15 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 14:53:59-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Those who live in the Jackson Bluff area of Tallahassee are speaking out about concerns over constant home and car burglaries in the area.

Now, residents are taking matters into their own hands.

Matthew Latch has lived in the Jackson Bluff neighborhood for more than 2 years. He says, it's unnerving that there's a home or car break-in every few days. WTXL reported about the uptick in crime at the beginning of the year.

"We all have a story, or know someone who has a story, of someone who's been broken into in the neighborhood," said Latch.

Last week, he posted to Facebook about two home and two car burglaries in a single day.

"99 percent of the crime is related to lack of appropriate infrastructure that provides for an environment where there is opportunity to commit crime," said Latch.

Latch says abandoned homes, lack of sidewalks and poorly lit streets all add up, and criminals are taking advantage of the area. Jackson Bluff residents say graffiti, unkempt public lawns and potholes along some roads are also big problems.

Latch even showed WTXL a safe that had been dragged out of nearby home, broken into and was left sitting outside a fence that borders several backyards.

"The massive stormwater drain, which runs all along this street and down Lipona, that's an ingress point for everybody who's ever broken into a house here," Latch explained. "It takes you to every backyard in this neighborhood."

That's why Latch and other Jackson bluff residents are taking matters into their own hands. They're putting up neighborhood watch signs and fencing, hoping to make the area a harder target for criminal activity.

"TPD and code enforcement have been doing a really great job in the area but they're limited in what they can do. At the end of the day, they can't be here all the time and that's when you need to have things in place that are going to make your neighborhood safe when no one is looking," said Latch.

Police say they're doing more patrols in the Jackson Bluff neighborhood to keep residents safe.

"Our officers are generally assigned to an area and they're assigned to that area for long periods of time," said Officer Damon Miller Jr. with the Tallahassee Police Department. "They actually familiarize themselves with not only the residents, but also the business owners as well."

And if you still have concerns, TPD will send extra patrols to your home or business.

"Also you can call our community relations unit at 850-891-4251 for a free security survey," said Miller. "One of the practitioners will come out and basically look at your home or business and make sure you have adequate lighting, proper locks on your doors."

WTXL reached out to the city of Tallahassee, who tells us, "The City is working with area homeowners to provide access to street lighting on privately owned and maintained roads and committed to addressing public infrastructure issues as they are reported. To report issues, neighbors can call us at 891-4968 or use DigiTally."