Local Police Consider Retractable Posts to Curb Crime

W 7th street | Image by Fox 4 KDFW

The City of Fort Worth is proactively exploring ways to decrease the potential for crime in the West 7th Entertainment District, including the use of a new tool to manage traffic in the area.

According to a presentation to the city council by the Fort Worth Police Department, crowds tend to congregate and linger in the entertainment district long after the bars and restaurants close down for the night.

“… [It] takes until about 3:15 in the morning until people really clear out and the streets get back to normal,” Assistant Chief Robert Alldredge said, per Fox 4 KDFW. “Our police officers basically kind of form a line and encourage people to get out of the area because what we’ve learned is when people congregate, that’s when bad things tend to happen.”

Just last month, a man was seriously injured in a shooting in the crowded entertainment district that was packed with late-night St. Patrick’s Day revelers. On September 1, a TCU student was fatally shot in the early morning hours in an apparent random act of violence in the West 7th Entertainment District.

Fort Worth Police hope to prevent such tragedies in the future by minimizing crowds and traffic in the area after hours. To facilitate the clearing of foot and pedestrian traffic, the police department has proposed the use of retractable metal bollards at key intersections in the district.

“The whole purpose of the bollards is to help prevent traffic coming into the West 7th area at certain times of the night and help people get out of the West 7th area,” Alldredge said, according to Fox 4.

The remote-controlled security posts would only be used for about an hour, “just long enough to get the crowd to clear out. Then once we’re done with them, we’ll lower them back down,” Alldredge said.

The bollards would cost about $140,000 to design and install, and the city is working to finalize a contract for them.

In addition, the city is considering other measures to increase safety in the entertainment district, including installing Flock cameras, which flag license plates associated with outstanding warrants, and limiting rideshare pickup locations to just two areas in the district.

The downtown area of Fort Worth, which includes the entertainment district, consistently sees less crime than the city center of neighboring Dallas, according to monthly reports by the Metroplex Civic & Business Association. Downtown Fort Worth is patrolled by a dedicated police unit and private security guards.

While Fort Worth’s police department has a shortage of officers, the Dallas Police Department is chronically understaffed, fielding only about 3,100 officers citywide, despite a city analysis that shows a need for 4,000 to adequately patrol the city.

City leaders budgeted just $654 million for the Dallas Police Department this fiscal year, far less than the funding for other high-crime jurisdictions like Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article