FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth’s police chief plans to continue building the department’s use of technology and data into the next year to address an increase in violent crime.
Through identifying large crime hot spots, then pinpointing individual homes and business, police have used a growing system of cameras and scanners to help locate suspects in what Chief Neil Noakes says is a record amount of time.READ MORE: North Texas-Based IRS Officer Sentenced To Prison For 'Obstructing Federal Tax Laws'
Noakes spoke about the strategy Wednesday as the city continues to experience a surge in violent crime and homicides.
There have been 61 homicides through July 14 according to the department, compared to 48 during the same time period in 2020.
In past years Noakes said the approach may have been to saturate problem areas with police.READ MORE: 1 Dead After Man Fires Shots At Pickup Truck In Tom Thumb Parking Lot In Richardson
“But the problem is we were having what would result in negative interactions with the very citizens we were trying to serve,” Noakes said. “The good people that lived there wanted the negative element out just as bad as we did.”
Noakes recognizes the relationship between residents and police is sometimes still fragile. The trial for former officer Aaron Dean, accused of killing Atatiana Jefferson in her home in 2019, is still pending and expected to happen later this year.
He has encouraged officers to have positive interactions with citizens, while not dealing as much with low level crimes, and focusing on violent crimes important to the city as a whole.
“What I want people to understand is that does not mean we’re not arresting people. We are. The point is to arrest the people we really need to arrest,” he said.MORE NEWS: Biden Administration Terminates 2 Border Wall Contracts In Texas
The department has touted the success of its Fort Worth Safe program, started this spring to address violent crime. It has resulted in confiscating 64 weapons and arresting 116 people since May 10.