Crime Escambia County Pensacola

The escalating violence in crimes committed in Pensacola is troubling

December 27, 2012

The violent crime in Pensacola is escalating to a much more dangerous level. In 2009, I was writing about drive-by shootings. Shots were fired over crowds, few people were injured. In 2010 and 2011, people were shot and killed on the streets, in front of houses, in parking lots-but the homes were relatively safe.

Now they are kicking in doors, not caring who is in the house. They shoot people in front of their children, mothers, wives and girlfriends. Most of the victims are teens or twenty-somethings.

This is very troubling. Most murders and home invasions are happening in the poor neighborhoods, but how long before the attacks spill over into east Pensacola and more affluent areas?

As many commentators on this blog have written. These crimes have a multitude of causes – poverty, joblessness, public education failing to reach them, lack of fathers in the home, teenage mothers. We have to attack the issue on several fronts, using more than law enforcement.

Do we need more deputies and police on the streets?
Do we need more undercover operations to bust drug rings?
Do we need after-school programs for kids, especially for teens? Boys & Girl Club, more YMCAs, midnight basketball.
Do we need more Vocational training–not career academies–but welding, carpentry, plumbing, etc.?
Do we need more neighborhood watch groups? Bigger rewards for Crimestoppers?
Do we need to have a program to buy-back guns?
Do we need to retool the inner-city schools and be more creative in how we educate our minority students?

Economic development is the sexy issue for county commissioners, council members and mayors. There is a lot of fanfare long before any new job is delivered to the community.

Crime, not so much. No easy answers. No photo ops. Few quick solutions, primarily just temporary band-aids. However, it and its causes must be dealt with.

You Might Also Like

  • RT December 31, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Denise, I doubt that legalization of drugs is the solution. Of course, the first question is this: which drugs ought to be legalized? Do you really want to end prohibition on all drugs? Really? Then consider this: in an environment of legalized drugs, drug dealers will simply find a different illegal commodity and another ready-and-willing market. If you doubt that, then study some history of crime (i.e., hundreds if not thousands of years).

  • George Hawthorne December 31, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Denise – I do agree with you on most of your points. I do believe the legalization of marijuana will help with the “profit potential” of dealing, however, other drugs have way too many harmful affects to be legalized.

    I also don’t think that everyone is “college ready” and there should be more vocational and technical training and education problems. As far as job availability, you are absolutely correct regardging the lack of meanigful jobs in Pensacola. However, I would take an approach of entrepreneurial training and development for these “illegal businessmen.”

    From purely a business perspective, these drug dealing individuals have exhibited an ability to understand the basic business principals of a free market. They engage in product acquisition, marketing, accounting,sales, distribution, security/loss prevention and return on investment. However, the “product” that they sell is illegal and produces an ill effect on society.

    Clearly, if we can convince these people that there are other products to sell that provide the same (or even better) profit margin without the inherent risk of trade then we can re-channel their skill sets to become job producers and taxpayers.

    There are working “models” of this “re-purposing” working throughout various parts of the country. As society, we can’t afford to continue to build jails, pay for incarceration and the cost of prosecution without looking at alternative measures to change behavior instead of prosecuting offenders.

    It costs $70,000 p/year p/inmate for the judicial route, not includng, law enforcement, prosecution, court costs and victim costs. It would seem that we would be better suited in “investing” in solutions that lead to behavior changes on the front-end instead of paying the costs of the behavior after-the-fact.

  • Denise December 30, 2012 at 4:10 am

    George Hawthorne – education and better paying jobs will never make a dent in street level crime; if we could educate all of our current gang bangers to college level , which we can’t, then we still would not have jobs for them – we don’t even have enough jobs in Pensacola for college educated non-criminals.

    This will also never change the gangsta culture that is glorified through rap music, low riding hipsters (and over-priviliged white kids in Gulf Breeze) – do you really believe that anyone raised in that culture will weigh his options…$1,000.00 a week in a straight job by the time I’m 30 if I bust my ass, or $ 8,000.00 a week now when I’m still 14 – and choose the college route ?

    Only when drugs have been legalized and the profit removed will the violence stop – until then relentless prosecution and long incarceration are the only answers. Or summary execution of dealers on the spot…

    Joe : I don’t know of anyone sent to prison for “smoking pot” in the last 30 years; simple possession is a misdemeanor.

  • RT December 29, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Joe, I think you are right. Many aspects of the “welfare state” have contributed to the current problems.

  • joe December 29, 2012 at 5:05 am

    Yes to all of the above.
    Education and stimulation at the youngest ages, (pre-school) is overlooked. We think public school teachers are under-paid. Child care facilities can truly only afford to pay staff a little over minimum wage.
    The terrible economy makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do to try and survive. The jails and prisons should be more punitive and filled less with people guilty of victimless crimes (like smoking pot) and sentences harsher for violent offenders. Turn off the AC and cable TV and start making license plates, perform tasks such as printing government documents; other ways to have inmates productive. I’m not suggesting chain gangs, which I think were used until the 50’s with Ga being the last state to cease.
    The 70K per inmate per year would be a great start in community programs promoting education, community centers and vocational training opportunities, but I agree the progressive programs has limits in its effectiveness.
    The breakdown of the family unit is the root of many social and educational problems. Our system of financial assistance being greater for more children and baby daddy unknown should be addressed.
    Its stunning to me how many young women I hear referring to their “baby daddy”, a designation I’d never heard of 5 years ago. How about a program forcing adoption after the second child born with “baby daddy unknown”? It is commonplace for US couples to go to great lengths to adopt foreign babies when there are so many children in this country needing a good home.

  • Eric December 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm


    A resounding YES! to all of your suggestions and I would like to posit that the answer(cause?) is written right in your blog posting..

    “…how long before the attacks spill over into east Pensacola and more affluent areas?”

    I ask, why can’t everyone share in the “affluence” enjoyed by so many? i.e. why is there so much “affluence” yet so much poverty?

    It does seem that high crime areas tend to be the poorest zip codes so it follows (to me) that there should be a national program aimed specifically at improving everyone to a level of “affluence”.

    Too far-fetched? Impossible? Nothing is impossible in America.

    This is America isn’t it? Doesn’t she pride herself on being the best in the world? Doing the impossible?

    But the question remains: do Americans really want to solve this problem? If so, retool the billion dollar think tanks to systemically and humanely address the problem. This is America – nothing is impossible.

  • Jacqueline December 28, 2012 at 8:48 am


    The way it was explained to me was that the Crime Stoppers tipster is given a unique number for their tip and then if it leads to an arrest, etc., they can present that unique number to a local bank for payment of the reward, no questions asked about identity.

  • 1 2