An increase in crime around the lake has prompted a coordinated effort between the four neighborhood associations around Lake Worth. Here is a working document for a proposed security plan. Once the plan is complete and has reached agreement between the associations, then the proposal will be taken to city leaders.
Coordinated Security Plan for Lake Worth
Purpose of plan: To implement a set of achievable, measurable, and economically feasible goals to enhance the security and safety for lake residents and lake guests.
Security issues: In addition to crime issues common to the entire city, the lake experiences an additional layer of issues. These issues include the vandalism and dumping issues to the extensive park properties, theft of water-specific equipment such as boats and tackle, drowning and injury from lake use, and the increase of all types of crime due to the numerous guests who visit the lake. These issues not only affect the residents of the lake but also the guests who wish to enjoy the lake. For the safety of all citizens, the security in and around the lake is critically important.
Unify park hours around lake - The FWPD has requested that all parks around Lake Worth share the same hours. In its current hodgepodge state of widely varying opening and closing times, policing the park hours is difficult if not impossible by beat patrols. By having all lake parks enjoy the same hours, policing the park hours becomes an efficient and doable task.
Evaluation of infrastructure - Each neighborhood needs to evaluate its infrastructure for needed additions and/or repairs. Infrastructure improvements would include:
Fencing / cabling - Fencing and cabling could be used in a variety of ways including discouraging lake guests from infringing on private property, reduce illegal dumping, and to control traffic damage to natural areas.
Park hours signage - Clearly marked park hours will help policing of the area and reduce undesirable activities which could result in injury or crime.
“On lake” and park location markers - Clearly marked “location signs” would help guests and residents communicate with law enforcement as to the specific location needing service. Location markers would be put in strategic locations in and around the lake.
New park infrastructure - New park improvements should be considered in locations heavily used by the public but which currently lack adequate infrastructure for such use. Proper infrastructure reduces environmental damage and promotes safety.
Evaluation of policing resources - The Fort Worth city government currently expends policing resources for the security of lake residents and lake guests. A fresh evaluation of these resources could result in more efficient use of resources and a corresponding increase in security.
Issue 1: Two police beats - The lake currently is broken into two police beats. Each beat covers not only the lake but also wide swaths of the city.
Issue 2: Lake Marshal - A “lake marshal” currently offices on the shoreline. Once funded by land leases, the lake marshal now finds itself with little or no revenue since the leased land has been sold to lake residents. Moreover, the Marshal’s authority for patrol has waxed and waned between patrolling only the water, to patrolling the land and water, to not patrolling at all.
Issue 3: Confusion in policing - Given the fact that the lake is separated from the main portion of the City of Fort Worth by several communities as well its general rural setting, policing has suffered from confusion. Emergency 911 calls frequently are routed to the wrong municipalities and police frequently cannot find addresses.
Unify policing resources for a “lake beat” - By having a single “lake beat,” issues occurring around the lake can be addressed by a single unified patrol rather than a divided one. This would increase the efficiency of finding addresses as well as understanding patrol issues unique to the lake.
Unify land / water lake patrol - Many policing issues cannot be neatly divided between “water” and “land.” For example, theft, drowning, and safety issues frequently move from shore to lake to shore. Allocate the property equipment and trained personnel to address the issues unique to the lake.
Schedule policing for peak guest times - Like other specific areas of the city, the lake attracts a large number of guests. Allocating resources during peak visiting times would save resources by applying them when needed most. Given the seasonal and weekly nature of the lake’s guests, patrolling primarily should be scheduled for warmer months, weekends, and holidays. Normal residential levels of patrolling should be adequate when fewer guests are at the lake.
Improve communication between police and neighborhood members - Create a better strategy for 911 callers to identify their locations.
Promote home safety practices of individual residents - Lake residents would be encouraged to add “strategic security layers” to protect themselves including:
Locking and securing property
Promote neighborhood-wide safety strategies - Neighborhood associations could engage in neighborhood-wide strategies for increasing their security including:
Neighborhood watch strategies
Educate neighbors on security
Encourage neighbors to report crime