Residents in the East Division of Fort Worth are looking for answers and solutions to fighting violent crime.
“My main concern is we’ve seen an escalation of homicide [and] not only homicides, but violent crime period,” Thomas Ragster said. “My 15-year-old son is afraid to come outside and play or even walk around to the park because of the things that are going on in our neighborhoods.”
According to data collected from National Incident Based Reporting System, the East Division had five cases of murder, non-negligent manslaughter and negligent manslaughter in the first quarter of 2015. There was one case in the first quarter of 2016.
In contrast, 2017 saw five in the month of January alone.
“We are working with the police department, with City Council of course and we are working on doing some community forums [and] some town hall meetings,” Ragster said. “[We] are working with some of our churches here in the community.”
Ragster fears the violence may become the new normal, but he is working to fight the crime and is looking for help.
“Actually, I’m a part of Code Blue. I’m the captain for this area. One of the problems that I’m running into is we don’t have any other participants,” Ragster said. “We don’t have anyone that’s willing to get out and patrol the neighborhoods, get out and say ‘I want to see some change in my community.’”
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Ragster said he and community members recently held a meeting to discuss community issues and are working on a possible citywide prayer vigil.
"Let's come together. Let's come out of our homes and if you are really tired of this situation, join Code Blue,” he said. “[Join] different organizations and different volunteer opportunities that you can be a part of that can actually help. Let's do it. Let's come together."