Local authorities have revealed plans to shore up public safety during Comofest in Fort Worth next month after a deadly mass shooting marred the event last year.

The Fort Worth westside neighborhood of Como has an array of events planned this July as part of the annual celebration of the historically black community. However, last year’s festivities were soured by a mass shooting that left three people dead and eight more injured.

As previously covered by The Dallas Express, shots rang out at around midnight in the Horne Street area, where hundreds had gathered for a Fourth of July party. The gunfire was followed by chaos as people tried to flee the area, and first responders struggled to make their way to those in need of medical attention.

“Traditionally, [in] the Como neighborhood, July 3 is their big celebration,” Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) Capt. Shawn Murray said at the time, according to CNN. “They have their parade, and July 3 in the evening, they gather up as a neighborhood and come together.”

This is not the first time violence has erupted at the event, with another shooting injuring eight people at a car wash on Horne Street in 2021. Responding to community members’ concerns that this year could once again be marred by bloodshed, FWPD is stepping up its law enforcement efforts.

“The night thing is not okay, they shouldn’t even be allowed to do that,” said Tania Torres, a cousin of one of last year’s victims, 22-year-old Cynthia Santos, per NBC 5 DFW. “It’s out of hand, and it’s not okay.”

The Como Neighborhood Advisory Council, the nonprofit Legacy Lake Como, and FWPD have teamed up to boost security and bring more order to Comofest.

“We had to become solutions-based,” said Marcus Hudson, Legacy Lake Como’s president, per NBC 5. “This is something that’s been plaguing our community for decades.”

Daytime festivities will resume as usual with an event at Lake Como Park. The once-unofficial nighttime festivities will be organized into a new event called Como Homecoming.

FWPD plans to block off the streets to better control traffic and monitor the crowds. This will allow officers — whose numbers will increase as the nighttime hours approach — to diffuse unruly and violent behavior quickly.

“I think the plan to mitigate [violence] this year is to come into it with a plan already in place,” said Stefanie Ricks, commander of FWPD’s West Division, per NBC 5. “And add a little bit more structure to it.”

The City of Fort Worth has poured considerable resources into shoring up public safety through community-based crime prevention programs, a revamped community camera program, and special neighborhood police units.

Monthly analyses of crime reported in Fort Worth’s downtown area compared to Downtown Dallas show the results of the former’s policing efforts. Produced by the Metroplex Civic & Business Association, the reports show Downtown Dallas regularly logs higher rates of assault and theft.

The Dallas Police Department has struggled to curb crime amid a longstanding officer shortage. Just 3,000 officers are fielded even though a City report called for closer to 4,000. This shortfall has delayed police response times. Dallas City leaders have also allocated DPD a budget of only $654 million this fiscal year, less taxpayer money than law enforcement agencies receive in other high-crime cities, like Los Angeles and Chicago.