Recent shootings in Daytona Beach lead to increased law enforcement action.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Daytona Beach’s new police chief urged residents to help fight crime and laid out measures being taken to stop violence in the city during a meeting on Nov. 30 at the Midtown Cultural & Educational Center.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young called the community meeting after a string of shootings has left the city on edge.
“This is a great city. What is happening is disgraceful. What I see on social media and in the media is not us. We are better than that,” Young said at the meeting, which had a good turnout of residents. “I like getting my car washed on one side of Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard and my hair cut on the other.’’
He continued, “We must have involvement from this community. I know most of you here. I trust you and I am confident.’’
This year, police have responded to 44 shootings with 58 victims and 13 deaths compared to 28 shootings with 33 victims and six deaths a year ago. That’s a 76-percent increase in shootings.
Police have taken 140 firearms off the streets and executed 54 search warrants.
“We are out here being proactive. We’re making strides. but there is more work to do,” said Young.
It isn’t clear why shootings have increased or if the coronavirus plays a role.
“I can’t put my finger quite on it. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone. Anxiety is up. There is a lot going on this year. COVID-19 may be a factor, but I am not going to accept that as an excuse,” Young remarked.
Police have an ongoing operation in the area of the 600 to 800 block of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard. (historically Second Avenue), where two of the shootings occurred.
They are increased patrols presence and traffic stops and officers soon will be out on bikes and walking the streets to engage the community.
“We are increasing our presence to stop crime but also for the community and store owners to get to know our officers,” Young noted.
The Daytona Beach Police Department is slated for 244 full-time officers but currently has 228.
“I will bring in the right people for Daytona Beach,” Young said.
Citizens on Patrol
Residents are also encouraged to join the Citizens on Patrol program.
“This program has been around as long as I’ve been here. We don’t have one person from Midtown, Derbyshire or the Black community on it. That’s a problem for me,” Young expressed.
He also pointed out that the Stewart-Marchman Act could assist police with mental health resources.
“I reached out to SMA. I want to partner with them to get the proper folks in here to help. They have a mobile response and crisis response team. A lot of things that we respond to as law enforcement, we shouldn’t,” Young stressed.
From Nov. 21 to Nov. 29, there were six shootings reported in the city which resulted in nine people shot, four dead, two arrests made, and several warrants issued.
On Nov. 29, John Phillips 18, was shot and killed on the basketball courts at Derbyshire Park. One suspect is in custody and a warrant is out for Arrington Turner, 19.
On Nov. 25, Jermaine Antone Jackson 36, kicked open the door of a card game at 822 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. and shot and killed Warrick Williams, 43, police say. Jackson is now in custody.
On Nov. 23, James Williams 39, shot and killed his cousin, Leonie Smith 36, after an argument over a woman, according to officers. Williams has an active warrant.
On Nov. 21, Alshane Bailey 29 was arrested after he and another man shot each other following an argument over a parking space in front of Lucky’s Market at 301 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., according to police. Bailey’s father Clevon Bailey, 56, was also shot.
On Nov. 21, two men were shot resulting in non-life threating injuries at Mason Avenue and Palm Drive. Police are still looking for the shooter.
On Nov. 21, a bystander, Chad Givens, 21, was shot and killed during a shooting which followed a fight at the 800 block of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. Jalen Foster, 27, Corey Favors, 22, and another man were arrested.
Residents are tired of the violence and are hopeful that it will stop.
“The event was positive and informative. I hope something good comes of it. I am hopeful, but I think it’s more up to the people to stop the gun violence,” said Alisha Smith.
Larry Adams added, “It’s good if the police listen to the people. They are paid to make arrests, but people have to stop the violence. It’s a mentality, like all gun violence.”
More meetings will be held in the future.
Young stated, “I plan on holding these quarterly. There is work to be done. I want the same turnout.”