Fort Worth considers banning open containers on West 7th Street

The city of Fort Worth is considering banning open containers and the public consumption of alcohol for its West 7th entertainment district, in an attempt to reduce criminal activity in the area.

The West 7th corridor has seen an influx of apartments, restaurants and nightlife in recent years, along with a spike in crime.

"This is an initiative that I brought forward as a way to try to get a handle on some of the chaos we are experiencing in and around the West 7th Street area," said Fort Wort City Councilwoman Elizabeth Beck.

An informal report states overall crime is up 15 percent in the area, compared to statistics from January to October for the past two years.

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Much of that crime increase is due to people under 21, according to the report.

"We want to reduce the number of incidents, really the violent incidents involving these underage individuals," said Fort Worth Assistant Police Chief Robert Alldredge. "They are just loitering around the area. Some of them are drinking some of them or not. They kind of stand around and meander along crowds that are going along. Normally, that’s not an issue but what usually happens is as the bars are letting out confrontations occur."

If council approves the ordinance police say they can step up prevention and enforcement.

"It’s hard to determine sometimes if someone is 18, 19 or 20 years old, and if we approach them, unless we have a definitive clue that they are under 21 years of age, we can’t really ask them for their ID because they don’t have to provide it," said Alldredge.

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A map defining the new open container law was designed with future growth in mind, including new restaurants and bars that may come near the district's outskirts.

"The reason we did that was for a change. We can be proactive in the West 7th Corridor as opposed to being reactive," said Councilwoman Beck.

City council is expected to vote on the open container ordinance Nov. 8.