FORT WORTH, Texas — Fort Worth has had four homicides in four days, pushing the year’s total to 37.
Reverend Kyev Tatum, pastor at New Mt. Rose Missionary Baptist, is worried about summer violence.
“I see a very bloody hot summer,” Tatum said. “When there’s heat, when there’s despair, there’s violence, and that’s what we have.”
Last year, 112 people were killed in the city, the most in 26 years. Fort Worth is on pace to be near that total again.
Last month, several people injured in shootings were innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire, according to the Fort Worth Police Department.
“Innocent persons should not be shot,” police spokesperson Officer Tracy Carter said. “We don't want to see anybody die from gun violence, not anyone.”
The police department recently revealed its new summer crime plan: Fort Worth Safe.
It includes more analytics-driven policing to put officers in areas seeing violence trending up, focusing on arresting known gang members and fugitives, and getting community input. Officers on the unit will be specifically detailed to stopping violent crime like homicides, robberies and shootings.
“We're out here to protect the community, but what we have to do is work in concert with the community to help prevent this from happening,” said Carter.
In its first week from May 10-May 18, the program led to 24 arrest, 19 felony charges and 17 weapons confiscated.
Tatum said the pandemic forced church leaders to find new ways to reach people and that knowledge is needed to reduce violence.
“I’m hoping this is a wake-up call for clergy,” he said. “It’s going to happen by getting out of the church, into the parking lot, back into the community, meeting people where they are.”
Fort Worth isn’t alone.
While Arlington has seen a decrease in murders this year, Dallas has seen violent crime increase again. Its reduction plan, shared in early May, is similar to Fort Worth’s.
“It's not just gang violence, you know, it's people,” Carter said. “It's family violence. It’s a lot of things.”
Whatever is driving violence and creating fear, won’t simply stop without help.
“The decision you make is going to impact not only you, but everyone else in that community,” Tatum said. “Stop and think before you act.”
Click here to learn more about the Fort Worth Safe plan.