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Press Release for Monday, April 30, 2007

Violence, Taxes and Public Safety Rank High in UNF Poll

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

A new University of North Florida poll shows that Jacksonville residents are very concerned about violence on the First Coast and also feel the proposed property tax reduction in Florida will threaten resources for public safety.

“I think these data contradict conventional wisdom about a perceived unwillingness to absorb tax increases for public safety in Duval County, “ said UNF Criminology and Criminal Justice Department Chair Dr. Michael Hallett, who led the polling effort. “These results will hopefully spark a conversation that will result in more resources, particularly for at-risk juveniles. Clearly, people are gravely concerned about violence in Jacksonville and are willing to do something about it.”

The supervised poll, conducted between April 16 and April 20, was conducted at the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at UNF and was performed through the use of Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing. Interviews took place with 403 Duval County residents. Margin of error for the general population is +/- 5 percent.

Among the findings:

--Respondents in this survey reported concern about the violence problem in Jacksonville. Ninety-six percent of respondents reported being at least “somewhat concerned” with the violence problem in Jacksonville, while 80 percent of all respondents reported being “very concerned.”

--Approximately 51 percent of respondents reported approval of the city’s efforts. Forty-one percent of respondents reported disapproval.

--Sixty-seven percent of all respondents reported being concerned that decreasing revenue from property taxes would threaten the resources available for public safety and crime prevention in Jacksonville.

--When asked whether or not respondents approve of the city government’s response to the violence problem in the city, approximately 46 percent of Democrats reported approving the job, while about 68 percent of Republicans reported approval. Forty-seven percent of Independent respondents reported approval of the government’s job and 44 percent of respondents registered with another political party reported approval.

--Overall, about 74 percent of respondents reported that they would be willing to spend $75 per year in taxes to fund police and crime prevention programs, regardless of political party registration. Seventy-three percent of Democrats reported this way, with 75 percent of Republicans responding similarly. Seventy-six percent of Independents reported that they would be willing to spend the additional money and 44 percent of respondents registered with another party reported being willing to spend the $75 per year.

--Sixty-eight percent of respondents reported that a priority of the juvenile justice system should be to provide rehabilitation and prevention, while 22.8 percent reported punishment as a priority.

--A majority of the respondents—53 percent—reported disagreeing with the statement, “We are spending enough money locally on crime prevention and intervention programs for juveniles.” Twenty-one percent agreed with the statement.

For complete survey results, go to