At least 116 arrests have been made and more than 100 guns have been seized in the first two months of a new crime-reduction initiative, Fort Worth police say.
“Fort Worth Safe” was launched in May 2021 after an increasing trend of violent crime. Fort Worth police chief Neil Noakes said their approach differs than traditional policing.
“Traditional policing has always been what we call ‘saturation detail’, where we send as many officers as we can into a neighborhood where we know crimes are happening and we take a broad approach to find the people causing the crime,” Chief Noakes said Wednesday. “In the process, sometimes what we would do is, we would have negative interactions with the very people we’re trying to help in those communities.”
Instead, the department is now using technology and data to help identify where violent crime is most prevalent. From there, resources are strategically focused in those areas.
“Because of advancements in technology, we use our real time crime center which is a great asset, our fusion center. We’ve got some great responses from our cameras,” Noakes said. “Using that technology, using those resources, we’re able to deploy officers exactly where they need to be dealing with exactly the people they need to be dealing with. Technology will never replace the officer in the street but when you combine those two things together, the results are remarkable.”
There were 112 homicides in the city of Fort Worth in 2020, which is the most the city had seen in 26 years. 2020 also saw an uptick in aggravated assault cases, Noakes said.
“Unfortunately, the numbers we’re seeing this year are trending a little higher than what we saw last year,” he said Wednesday. “I think criminologists will study this for decades. This time will be written about in history books and criminology books.”
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Among the most recent string of violent crimes include a shooting on the 4th of July weekend when eight people were shot. The victims, most of whom were thought to be innocent bystanders, were taken to several hospitals and were reported to be in stable condition at the time.
Noakes said while the initiative is showing a promising start, success relies on both law enforcement and the community.
“This isn’t something where they [public] have to come out and come to our police department and do a face to face. We’re allowing a format, where they can remain anonymous and just give the information for us so we can go to places where they know we need to be focusing on,” he said. “If we have a department that’s safe and resilient, we can also make sure the community is safe and resilient, the community is well, and the community is resilient.”
For more on the Fort Worth Safe initiative, click here.