Lake Worth adds 5 deputies to PBSO substation, aims to prevent crime

Posted at 10:56 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 06:25:10-04

The city of Lake Worth has budgeted for five more deputies to be added to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office substation.

This comes as calls for service have increased by 10,000 since 2011 when PBSO took over the Lake Worth Police Department. In those years, the number of deputies manning the substation have remained the same. 

A victim from a shooting back in April says the addition should have been made long ago. The scar across Jordan Etter's abdomen isn't the only reminder of his near-death experience this year. 

"It's extremely traumatic," said Etter. 

Etter says he was walking home one night from Downtown Lake Worth on K Street near Lake Avenue when he walked up on some suspicious activity and saw a man with a gun. He says he turned around and started running. 

"My adrenaline was pumping and I'm thinking, I got struck. It felt like somebody punched me and I reached around to my back as I was running and thinking please be a paintball gun, don't be blood, be purple or green and when I pulled by hand around and saw my hand was covered in blood I knew for a fact I was shot," said Etter. 

In February, a car-jacking was caught on camera on Lake Avenue. Last Thursday, a woman was shot and another was pistol whipped at a cell phone store on South Dixie Highway. City Manager Michael Bornstein says overall crime is down, but calls for service are increasing. 

"What we saw was almost a 10,000 increase in calls for the same number of deputies," said Bornstein. 

Now he city has hired 5 more deputies. It is also still replacing old light fixtures with LED lights to deter crime. Justin Olive runs Common Grounds Coffee Bar Downtown sans says the added police presence and extra lighting is making a difference. 

"It really does help not having dark alleys and felling that people can walk to their cars safely," said Olive. 

Etter wishes it would have come sooner. He believes extra lighting could have prevented what he says he walked into. 

The city is also working with PBSO to create ordinances that will improve the quality of life and safety for locals and tourists.