Strategies to reduce violent crime were discussed at a Fort Worth City Council meeting on Tuesday, with the city’s police chief stressing the importance of incorporating both policing and partnerships.
“The communities that need us the most are often the ones that trust us the least,” Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes said.
Citing data from the CDC, Noakes pointed out the nation had the largest one-year increase in homicides in 2020. Data for 2021 has not been made available yet but in Fort Worth specifically, he said there were 94 deadly shootings and 294 shootings resulting in injuries.
“Very disturbing here. Teens and adults 15 to 34 years of age, that’s where our homicide rates are the highest,” Chief Noakes said. “Black, American-Indian, Alaskan-native, Hispanic populations are the ones most affected by this violence.”
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Noakes’ presentation also included data on population growth in Fort Worth. Their data shows the city’s population has increased by 24% since 2010, while the overall crime rate is down 40.7% since 2010. Still, Noakes said, “one homicide is too many”.
Last year, the department launched the “Fort Worth Safe” initiative which uses technology and data to help identify where violent crime is most prevalent. According to Noakes’ briefing Tuesday, the initiative’s first six months from May 2021 to September 2021 resulted in 671 arrests.
Regarding partnerships with the community, Noakes pointed to nonprofits and faith organizations as examples. Reverend Parish Lowery with the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church was also part of the presentation Tuesday, saying he reached out to Chief Noakes wanting to better understand the crime trends and to be a part of the solution.
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“We have agreed to get involved in grassroots,” Reverend Lowery said. “We have agreed to get involved in prevention programs.”
The work with the Fort Worth Safe imitative isn’t over, Noakes said Tuesday. There are also plans in the works to establish a temporary unit to include experts from their gang, vice, intel, and K-9 units among others to work under one command to address violent crime.