Fort Worth hires company to patrol West 7th district

The city of Fort Worth is increasing its safety protocols in the West 7th entertainment district.

It’s one of the city’s most popular entertainment districts, and now police will get some help making the West 7th Street corridor safer with some additional eyes and ears to help police.

"What you’re about to see is civilians working down on West 7th. We’ve approved a team of civilians. They’ll go down there, they’ll help with public order," said Tracy Carter, with Fort Worth PD.

On Tuesday, city council members voted unanimously to hire the company Block by Block to run an ambassador program in the area, similar to one in downtown Fort Worth.

Ambassadors will welcome visitors to the entertainment district and act as a second set of eyes for law enforcement.

A team of paid, unarmed citizens, who will wear bright colored vests, will assist visitors with information, document incidents and quickly summon police if there’s a need.

"Let’s say a civilian is walking down the street and they see something and they don’t see an officer. They may see a yellow coat. We’d say let them know, advise them of what's going on," Carter explained.

Their patrol could begin as early as late spring.

The city approved the allocation of just over $300,000 through the crime control and prevention district.

The agreement with Block by Block is a temporary one, with the understanding that businesses in the area will establish a fund to directly pay for the service after one year.

"It’s a one-year pilot program for West 7th, and this is only a stop gap until the West 7th corridor can get a PID established," Fort Worth PD Executive Assistant Chief Robert Alldredge said.

It’s one of several measures to address crime in the West 7th street area following the shooting death of 21-year-old TCU student Wes Smith last September.


City of Fort Worth announces new safety improvements on West 7th after TCU student's murder

Due to increasing crime incidents, city leaders have adopted a new multi-faceted plan to address public safety for those who visit, work and live in the community just west of downtown.

Police said Matthew Purdy admitted to shooting and killing Smith in a random act of violence.

"We get very concerned when crime occurs in those areas, more specifically, one of our largest growing areas is West 7th," Alldredge said.

The city has moved to increase police presence in the area and banned open containers among pedestrians in certain areas of the district.

Now, there’s optimism surrounding police liaisons with an ambassador program.

"You’ll be able to spot them. They’ll be very visible," Carter said. "The more eyes and ears we have in any area, the better we are."