Fort Worth City Council: Trail Crime update

In the continuing response to a recent attack on the Trinity Trail, the Fort Worth City Council received a report on crime along the system at its Nov. 7 work session.

The trail system includes about 72 miles on the Trinity River corridor. There are gaps in the trail system and a study has been commissioned to determine the cost to eliminate key trail gaps and reduce crime.

On Sept. 16 a woman was attacked by a naked man while on the Trinity Trail near Edwards Ranch Road. This incident prompted a review by the Fort Worth Police Department of all crime on the trail system and associated parking areas over the past year. From Sept. 25, 2016, through Sept. 27, 2017, there were 49 offenses reported, including 21 vehicle burglaries, nine incidents of vandalism, five robbers and three assaults.

“We may need to look at some dedicated bike officers for the trail, the full length of the trail,” Mayor Betsy Price said.

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District 2 Councilman Carlos Flores recalled a time when his brother’s car was broken into on the trail.

Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said that in addition to officers on horses and bikes, some officers in plain clothes are being considered. Price also suggested a potential police office on the trail.

The most frequent locations for reported offenses were the parking lots along East Northside Drive and in Trinity Park – 20 offenses, including 11 vehicle burglaries.

In January, the Tarrant Regional Water District donated eight off-road motorcycles to the police department to allow more effective patrols of the city’s trail system. Bicycle-certified officers and NPOs from the patrol divisions ride the trails on a regular basis each week, based on crime data and trends.

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West Division also has access to an electric vehicle for use on the trails, and has a group of Citizens on Patrol who ride the trails on bicycles. The mounted unit also patrols the trails on horseback several days each week.

The City of Fort Worth and Tarrant Regional Water District have jurisdiction and responsibility for the trails.