FORT WORTH, Texas — After a weekend in which Dallas and Sacramento both saw deadly mass shootings, the City of Fort Worth held a news conference underscoring its dedication to reducing violent crime within the city.
In 2021, the city recorded 118 homicides -- a 27-year high, and the most it had seen since 1994. At a press conference on Monday, Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes said he wants to reduce the city's violent crime rate by 10 percent over the next 12 months.
In a downtown Sacramento shooting early Sunday, six people were killed early Sunday morning, and twelve others were injured. The shooting started after a fight broke out.
Like many major cities wrestling with a rising violent crime rate, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said Monday that keeping her city safe was a top priority.
"We have to take this issue incredibly seriously," the mayor said. "I have confidence knowing Chief Neil Noakes agrees."
Noakes told reporters from various media outlets that Fort Worth is focused on a data-driven approach to reduce violent crime within the city.
He noted that homicides in the city have risen by 69 percent since 2019. That year, the city recorded 70 homicides. In 2020, 112 were recorded.
Overall, violent crime had increased by 27 percent overall since 2019. That includes robbery cases and aggravated assault cases.
Noakes is working with a shortage of roughly 100 officers, he added at the conference.
While the department is recruiting to fill the gaps, he said data had been collected during his first year as chief that gives his department a place to start when it comes to developing its crime-fighting strategy.
Per Noakes, 2.9 percent of 824 police reporting areas make up 23 percent of the city's violent crime rate.
Noakes added that focusing on those areas would be a priority, as would working with the city to address issues commonly found in those parts of town -- like lack of transportation, food deserts and a lack of jobs.
Watch his full press conference below: