Local activists, Fort Worth police working to help curb violence, as homicide numbers likely to hit triple digits by end of 2021 – WFAA.com

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FORT WORTH, Texas — One of the fastest-growing cities in North Texas is seeing an unwanted increase in one of its violent crime numbers. 
Fort Worth is on pace to hit triple digits this year for homicides. Violent crime scenes have played out over and over again, which has forced law enforcement to respond to this disturbing milestone. 
Homicides numbers for the city affectionately referred to as the “Place Where the West Begins” have shot north. 
Fort Worth Community Activist Johnny Cook Muhammad volunteers through a number of churches and organizations, including Brothers With Pride. He has recently started community conversations about the homicides, especially since he believes most of them involve Black male victims and suspects. 
Muhammad hopes the reports of violence will end sooner rather than later.  
“I am hoping that we will not hit a hundred, but I got to be realistic. I am sure we are,” said Muhammad.  
Muhammad has spent more than two decades teaching conflict resolution to young people. He strongly believes that if people learn to resolve their disagreements without guns, the homicide rate will decrease in Fort Worth. 
However, with Fort Worth now at 99 homicides for 2021, he’s calling on change even stronger.
“I would like to see us put things in place that are simple, like more conflict resolution, and programs that we can start having some buffers,” said Muhammad.
He’s referring to buffers for conflict resolution to help decrease the number of local funerals linked to violence.
Fort Worth has had years in the recent past where homicides barely made it to 100. But according to Muhammad, that was with deliberate programs that addressed what was happening in neighborhoods identified as the most dangerous in Fort Worth. 
RELATED: Fort Worth police chief ‘concerned’ over violent crime rise, touts summer crime program
Fort Worth Police Department released the following statement on how the department is working to curb the increase in violent crime numbers: 
“Fort Worth police officers have multiple initiatives to help stop the violence with continued goals to make the city a safe place to work, live and play for every citizen. One of the initiatives is the FLOCK Camera Technology. FWPD also uses surveillance cameras in areas that need preventive measures to help keep people safe. In areas where violent crimes tend to prevail FWPD has continued to use its Directed Response Unit. Plus, gang-related issues are being addressed by officers assigned to the FWPD Gang Unit. Officers work constantly with CODE BLUE and they are community-oriented through several Crime Fairs, neighborhood meetings, and forums surrounding crime issues and concerns throughout the Fort Worth area. 
Fort Worth police have developed relationships with willing community members to address their concerns. FWPD has even gone as far as hosting several CRASE ‘Active Shooter’ classes in collaboration with local clergy and ministers. Like many law enforcement agencies across Texas, the Fort Worth Police Department looks for communities to be their ‘Eyes & Ears’ in the fight against crime, without being seen as an occupying force.” 
Parrish Lowery, of Fort Worth, is co-owner of Tree of Life Funeral Directors. He has found the recent trend disturbing due to the back-to-back funerals. He’s most disturbed when a victim is barely high school age. 
“It’s heartbreaking,” Lowery said. “We are in the business of serving funeral homes. But, we don’t want to be in business due to violence. So, It’s very heartbreaking.”
Just like community activists, like Muhammad, Lowery hopes for better days — especially because of the common denominator they are seeing in Fort Worth homicides.    
“It’s very heartbreaking to see our young men be the victims and those who are responsible,” Lowery said. “It’s a place I didn’t think we would be at. Especially, at my age, I have never seen anything at this level in my lifetime.” 
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