Volusia County Council member criticizes Daytona Beach safety; police chief fires back

Daytona Beach bills itself as the "World’s Most Famous Beach," with 23 miles of white sand beaches and lots to see and do.

Volusia County Council member Danny Robins has a different image.

"Some of these core areas where we expect our tourism to go, there’s public safety issues, graffiti everywhere, transients, drunks, prostitutes. They’re everywhere!" he said.

During a discussion about expanding beach driving, Robins expressed his concerns, stating, "I will not bring my family through or to Daytona Beach without the scanner app on my phone to see what's going on." He also highlighted staffing challenges, saying, "Staffing police officers is an issue. We can't get them."

Those comments drew a fiery response from Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young. Clearly displeased, he confronted Robins directly during a public comment session in DeLand on Tuesday night. 

"While we do have some issues in the city of Daytona Beach, it is hardly the crime-ridden Armageddon that was described from this dais," he said, adding that Daytona Beach's problems are no worse than anywhere else in the country.


In his allotted time, Chief Young rebutted Robins' claims regarding staffing shortages. 

"Currently, full staffing for my department is 244, and I'm sitting at 236, which means I only have eight vacancies. I would hardly call that a staffing crisis," Young asserted.

Robins, a former Daytona Beach police officer, maintained his stance on crime in the city, saying, "I can tell you firsthand, crime in Daytona Beach is worse than Deltona."

Chief Young countered sharply, "For any elected official who wore this uniform and is collecting a pension from the City of Daytona Beach to take that opportunity to drag the city through the mud for political gain is disgraceful."

Miguel Nin is a downtown business owner who says he’s seen changes. 

"I remember here eight, nine years ago when it was really bad. On every corner, everyone was begging for money. You couldn’t come into the store, and I had people sleeping in front of the shop and everything else. That has come and gone," he said.

He credits the recent implementation of constant downtown security with being a big help.

"If my area is nice, I’m not going to complain because I saw them do something about it," Nin added, "but that doesn’t mean it didn’t migrate somewhere else, and that’s where that councilman may have seen it."

At the conclusion of Tuesday's meeting, Robins responded to the chief's comments, affirming his respect for Young but standing by his original statements.