Fort Worth violent crime spikes as police, community advocates seek answers

Violent crime spikes in Fort Worth

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - Violent crime in Fort Worth has spiked this year, including a nearly 70 percent hike in homicides at one point, according to data put out this week by the police department.

From January through March, sex offenses also spiked almost 25 percent, while robberies were up nearly 30 percent, compared to the same time period last year.

Police released the data Tuesday evening at a pre-council meeting.

But WFAA first reported on Sunday how some city leaders were already hearing just how bad things have gotten.

Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray is just one representative that has heard more horror stories, the latest a shooting on Friday night that left five people injured and two others dead.

"We have seen an uptick. Whether it has been gang related, drug related, or domestic violence, we have seen an uptick," said Gray.

Pastor TJ Ragster, who runs a new anti-crime group called "Just Stop," says they first noticed a big uptick a couple of months ago.

"Some gang violence, some drug related things," says Ragster.

As a clergy and police alliance member, he says he has also heard that a growing number of officers feel recent controversies have impacted how they can police day-to-day.

"I do know that a lot of the officers, a lot of attention has been put on them. Therefore, a lot of resources have been put into that particular situation," says Ragster.

The situation he refers to is one that again is in the headlines this week, as embattled Officer William Martin fights discipline he received after a very high-profile and controversial December arrest. 

Several department sources say there are a number of factors for the recent violence spike, including increased gang activity. But they confirmed that some of the rank and file feel "limited as to what they can do, and how they can do it."

"It's a real effect," said one source.

Not all of the data released is bad news.

Home break-ins have dropped slightly compared to last year, as did reports of prostitution and drug arrests.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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