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'We cannot continue this divide': Community members, police share thoughts on Fort Worth's rise in violent crime

In 2020 the city recorded more than 100 homicides for the first time in more than 25 years.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The city of Fort Worth continues to deal with a rise in violent crime. In 2020, the city recorded more than 100 homicides for the first time in more than 25 years. So far in 2021, there have been 27 recorded homicides, the number the city was at by this point last year.

“We have been concerned about this for many years,” said New Mount Rose Baptist Church Pastor Kyev Tatum. “There are no clean hands. We have to get to the point where the police acknowledge things, that they’ve done things that are not right in the past, and the community has to say there are things we have not done right in the past, and downtown has to say there are things they have not done right, and the faith community has to say there are things we have not done right.”

Manny Ramirez is the President of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association. He says the department is about 90 officers short of what is needed to proactively police the community.

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“There’s a direct correlation in the amount of resources that we have to proactively police the community and violent crime,” Ramirez said. “If we have more police officers on the streets, if we have more police cars driving down neighborhoods making sure that these crimes aren’t occurring, less of these violent crimes will occur.”

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“We need more police officers to be able to get out there and proactively bring down violent crime rates because otherwise our officers are just reactionary and as violent crime goes up, all we can do is sit there and react to them,” Ramirez said. “We need the resources and we need the help.”

Tatum says if the city will find a fix, it will take everyone coming to the table.

“We have to be willing to change as a community and we can never look at each other and say one group is better than the other because we’re all in this together,” Tatum said. “If we really love Fort Worth we know that we cannot continue this divide.”