Streets, Crime Rank Biggest Concerns in Cowtown

Fort Worth Police unit behind police tape
Fort Worth Police unit behind police tape | Image by NBC 5 DFW

A biannual public survey conducted in January in Fort Worth revealed that a majority of residents view public safety and road maintenance as the city’s biggest problems.

The survey was conducted by the ETC Institute, which received roughly 1,725 responses from the public after mailing out 8,000 survey questionnaires.

The study found that residents are satisfied with Fort Worth overall, though the percentages dropped slightly from 2021 among some demographics, most notably among residents aged 18 to 34. Residents over the age of 65 reported greater satisfaction with the city, reported the Fort Worth Report.

Over half of the respondents said street maintenance, traffic, police, and cleanliness should be the city’s top priorities. Respondents also reported that the overall quality of life in the city was 7% lower than in the previous study in 2021, primarily due to roads and crime.

Despite using social media outreach efforts for the first time, the ETC Institute saw about 100 fewer respondents this year. ETC Institute hoped to increase the number of younger residents who responded, wanting to produce data more representative of the population than in previous years.

“What they’re finding is, those old methods aren’t necessarily going to get us the demographic representation that we need, particularly with regards to something like age,” said Amethyst Sloane, strategy and performance manager with FWLab, which contracted with ETC Institute.

Residents were 71% satisfied with the city in 2021, but only 64% were satisfied in 2023. The city has tried to alleviate what FWR called a “tremendous number” of complaints about trash near highways in 2022.

“There was a request internally to try to meet that need of the public and try to come up with some options to supplement and to support TxDOT’s goals — to beautify the community, promote tourism, promote safety, and promote the general view and feel of Fort Worth along our highways, roadways, and green spaces,” Environmental Services Director Cody Whittenburg said, per FWR.

Fort Worth has been taking steps since 2019 to increase green spaces and address concerns about city parks. The city’s Play Big! plan has helped garner funding from Texas Parks and Wildlife to improve green spaces and parks.

“In a city, naturally, just like in your personal life, you have a limited amount of resources, but you have a vast amount of needs,” Joel McElhany, the city’s parks planning overseer, said to FWR.

“We need to hear what the priorities are from the public in order to identify the highest priorities so we can put our funding behind what is most needed and what is most wanted out there,” added McElhany.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, only 28% of respondents to a similar survey last year in Dallas said they thought the city is heading in the right direction, citing problems with the state of public safety, homelessness, street repairs, and cleanliness as some of the top issues.

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