New numbers show crime is down in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New numbers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show crime is going down in Duval County.

The Uniform Crime Report looked at crime in the first 6 months of 2013, and compared to the first 6 months of 2012.

In Jacksonville, the report showed a 15 percent decrease in murders, and a little more than a 6 percent decrease in aggravated assaults. 

Overall, violent crimes are down 1 percent. The number of rape victims are up, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that's in part because of a re-classification.

Business owners in Jacksonville are hoping the general downward trend in crime could change the way some think about the city when it comes to crime.

"Every little bit helps," said Pat Middleton. He's been selling houses in Jacksonville for more than 30 years.

Middleton said his clients ask him about being safe in Jacksonville.

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

FCN Investigates: What exactly are you paying for at the pump?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We are just weeks from the busy Thanksgiving travel season.

But, before you fill up for your trip the On Your Side team has three things you'll want to know before you hit the road. It's part of a First Coast News investigation.

At the gas station, every cent counts.

"I get pretty much what my car gives me," said Michael Bryce, as he filled up the car. "I get around $20 half a tank, $40 for a full tank, $5 for an eighth of a tank."

If you feel like something just isn't right, you might be on to something.

It is Anthony Davis' job to find out

He's one of the petroleum inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture.

"We want to make sure that consumers are getting what they're paying for," Davis said.

FCN's David Williams joined him at the Chevron station on New Kings Road for an inspection. Inspections are done at least every 12-14 months, says Davis.

Jacksonville man gives classic muscle car experience

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tyler Suarez used to have a career in finance, and while he says he enjoyed it, it wasn't 'filling the tank.'

He got bit by the classic car bug about six years ago, and decided that was what he wanted to dedicate his life to.

"It bites ya, like a disease, then you get interested in one car and spend all day online researching it," Suarez said.

But his interest in one car turned into five.

Suarez quit his job, sold some of his possessions, and bought the cars of his dreams.

A 1972, tuxedo black Stingray, a 1968 Pontiac GTO, a 1969 Camaro, a 1971 Dodge Challenger and a 1966 Mustang all make up his collection.

In all he says he's spent more than $100,000 on cars, shipping, parts and a warehouse to store them.

"It was a life decision for me, I'm not getting any younger," Suarez said. "And I knew now was the time to share my love of classic cars."

Top 5 hottest jobs and how you can land one

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Are you looking for work? If you are, keep the following story handy.

Like many people, 37-year-old Ty Harris of Jacksonville, has been looking for work.

"Off an on for about a year," Harris explained.

He's been doing freelance work in client and project management, but is looking for something more permanent, which is why he came to a job fair Monday.

He said the job market is tough, which makes it harder to help his family of two children.

"I've gotten a lot of 'You're over qualified,'" Harris said of his year-long job search.

FCN's David Williams asked Harris "What if we told you, we know what the top 5 most in-demand jobs are in Jacksonville?"

To that, Harris responded "I would be impressed and I would inquire what would that be?"

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Father ticketed for son's red light violation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gabriel Alexander lives in Baker County and drives a Cadillac. Gabriel Alexander II, his son, lives in Duval County and drives an Acura.

"I don't even drive the vehicle," said Alexander. 

So imagine his reaction when he received a notice of violation for the Acura running red light cameras. The notice was sent to his Baker County home.

"I barely know where that street is that the alleged citation occurred," he said. 

It happened May 28, 2013, 7:14 am. According to the Notice of Violation, the Acura ran the lights at the intersection of Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road.

"I tried to show the court that I was at work," said Alexander, "It wasn't me."

But because both father and son name's are on the vehicle registration, the elder Alexander's name is first, the father received the ticket.

"Physically, I was 50 or more miles away," he said. 

Five holiday scams to avoid

JACKSONVILLE,Fla. -- It may seem difficult to talk about holiday scams during the month of October, but if you've been into the major stores they're ready for the Christmas holidays and so should you.

These are five holiday scams to avoid:

The Greatest online deal

Greatest is a read flag word. Examine who is making the claim. How long has the business been around? Is the product available elsewhere? Always check with www.bbb.org to see if there's a history.

Don't fall for the must have gadget/toy

Every holiday season there's a popular toy/gadget and the store sells out of it. Then it ends up on websites like Craigslist or eBay at a much higher price. If you must have buy from a local seller, someone you can meet in person to examine the product and make the deal.

Don't become the victim of Identity Theft

Mayor, officials' London trip costs taxpayers nearly $20,000 so far

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A First Coast News investigation shows the City of Jacksonville has spent nearly $20,000 on a week-long trip to Europe.

The investigation has also revealed that the cost will go up even higher once receipts from the trip are processed.

Right now, Mayor Alvin Brown, City Council President Bill Gulliford and Economic Development Chief Ted Carter are in London, England.

They are spending the week attending business meetings set up in part by Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

The game plan is to try and bring new, international business to the River City.

First Coast News has confirmed there are more than 20 different companies the city is meeting with. One of them is Deutsche Bank.

Leaders will also be attending the Jaguars game in London against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

First Coast News obtained multiple pages of travel documents from the city to conduct its investigation.