Watch CBS News

City looks at improving safety in Fort Worth entertainment districts

Improving safety in Fort Worth entertainment districts
Improving safety in Fort Worth entertainment districts 02:14

FORT WORTH – A recent wave of violence in Fort Worth's West 7th district has had visitors and residents on edge.

Last September, a TCU student was shot to death in the cultural district.  And just last month, a 29-year-old was shot to death after a fight.  

The city hired an outside group that plans to look at how businesses and city organizations can work together to boost safety in entertainment districts across the city. 

The city has implemented new safety policies like more lighting and a heavier police presence in the West 7th cultural district, especially on weekends. 

The city says crimes against people and property actually went down from 2022 to 2023, but one local business owner says she's still feeling the impact. 

Abby Slayton Tobin, owner of There's No Place Like Home, a furniture store in the heart of the West 7th district, said her business has been there for 13 years but she says since COVID she's noticed crime has gone up.

"The thing is about this area (that) it's got the reputation for being a very dangerous area in the evenings and night times," said Tobin.

And that reputation has hurt business even during the daytime.

"For about the last two years our sales have gone down 60 percent," said Tobin.

According to Fort Worth police, between March 1, 2023 and Feb. 2, 2024, West 7th actually reported less violent crimes than other entertainment districts in the city. 

  • West 7th –28 violent crimes 
  • Stockyards- 30 violent crimes 
  • Downtown- 76 violent crimes
  • Near Southside- 59 violent crimes 

The city has agreed to pay Safe Night, a public safety consulting firm, more than $148,000 to look at the safety of the city's entertainment districts and make recommendations for what the city can do to reduce crime. 

"We're really focused on the intervention before really bad things happen," said Dimitrios Mastoras, executive vice president of Safe Night. 

Safe Night will look at how the city's police fire and other agencies are working together and with local businesses to prevent crime. They also want to encourage police to establish more trust with community members and business owners.

"We're going to empower these agencies to meet these recommendations that we make," said Mastoras.

Safe Night also plans to create an accreditation program where businesses like bars will have to prove they're taking steps to boost safety. 

"They'll get a seal," said Mastoras. "For instance, in Dallas, they get a medallion (the name of their program is The Copper Star program). So they become certified in Copper Star, but this becomes a symbol of why or how businesses are doing everything they can to keep their staff and their patrons safe. 

"Business owners like Tobin welcome the steps Fort Worth is taking to boost safety but worry too much focus is being placed on bars. Most crime doesn't happen inside the bars. Most of the crime happens because there's such crowds of people that have been drinking and carrying guns."

Safe Night will make their recommendations to the city of Fort Worth in August.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.