As your mayor, my first and foremost responsibility is to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe. Since taking office, I’ve worked closely with Chief Simmons to implement new police initiatives and target hotspots for crime within our community.
Today, I’m proud to announce that we achieved an overall 14 percent reduction in crime for 2013, including an 18 percent reduction in violent crime and a 39 percent reduction in residential burglaries. These numbers represent Pensacola’s largest annual drop in crime in almost 15 years.
These gains were hard-fought. They were won by the men and women of the Pensacola Police Department, who put in long hours, stepped up their concentrated patrols, and worked closely with other agencies through initiatives like the Gun Crime Response Team. I am humbled each and every day by our officers’ dedication and commitment to their work and to our city. We are truly blessed to have one of the finest, most professional police forces in the nation.
Despite this victory, we cannot rest. Ensuring our continued safety requires us to look at the bigger picture. Moving forward, we must take steps to address some of the underlying issues of crime in our city, including generational poverty. We must support educational and community initiatives that give our children the tools they need to be successful and improve their long-term economic prospects.
While we celebrate our success, let us turn our focus as a community toward that unfinished work, and together, we will continue to take our city upward.