Texas : Safety by City
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Fort Worth, Texas, is a city where honky tonk meets high society with a Texas drawl and plenty of adventures in America’s 12th largest city.
Dallas and Fort Worth go hand in hand for most references, but for this article, we’ll just focus on Fort Worth.
You can review our Dallas review separately if you’d like.
Whatever you do, don’t refer to Dallas when you’re talking about Fort Worth and vice versa.
They are next-door neighbors but very different cities, sharing similar values.
(For what it’s worth, the same rules go for Minneapolis and St. Paul).
Now, put your hand up in a fist, raise your index finger and pinkie, tuck your middle fingers under your thumb and shout, “Hook ‘Em Horns!” and you’re ready for a trip to Texas.
Just don’t ever turn those horns facing down, as it’s an insult.
Fort Worth might still hold on to its Longhorn Cattle traditions, but this is a booming metropolis with 22% population growth since 2010.
It’s not as big as nearby Dallas, slightly more laid back, and not quite as urban.
Don’t let that last part make you think this is the boondocks.
Fort Worth IS a big city, it’s just not as big and showy as next-door Dallas.
Warnings & Dangers in Fort Worth
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Looking at crime data, there's a low risk in Fort Worth, especially when compared to Dallas. As with any big city, you've got places to avoid and specific warnings to know. (For my Dallas friends, I'll add that Dallas isn't an unsafe place to visit either, it just statistically has higher crime rates.)
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Being that the Dallas-Fort Worth area (Hereafter referred to as DFW) is a transportation Mecca, you have more transportation options that I can list here without writing a whole article on it. Fortworth.com has a great "Getting Around" section to list the options. You have local Fort Worth transportation, a commuter rail line to get between Dallas and Fort Worth, a separate rail line to get to DFW airport, and bus systems that go around downtown and the popular districts. Bike sharing, rideshares, taxis, and rental cars are readily available. There's a low risk in a lot of options.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here, with 150 pickpockets or purse snatching reported in 2021. While that's not a whole lot in a city with more than 918,000 people, it's still a risk you'll face in any big city. Only bring what you need with you, and keep your wallet and purse discreetly hidden.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Look up the 2000 Fort Worth Tornado outbreak on YouTube, and you'll see just how tornado-prone this area is. Severe thunderstorms can happen throughout the year, bringing tornado potential plus intense lightning, heavy rain, and strong winds. Extreme heat and drought are other possible issues, with occasional dust storms and winter conditions.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
There's a decreasing risk here, with robbery rates down almost 20% from 2020 to 2021. However, with violent crime rates growing, you should proceed as if there's medium risk.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
With this massive metro area, military presence, and transportation industry, there's a medium risk here. That means there's also a lot of extra Homeland Security presence as well as ongoing education about how to react during a terror attack should one happen.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Fort Worth and Dallas are two of the top cities for financial scams, but most of those are targeted at locals, especially younger and older residents. There are no major tourist scams, so you have a low risk. There is a large homeless population here, and you'll likely be panhandled during some part of your trip. The city has an extensive network to help the homeless, so consider donating to that instead of offering money on the streets.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women don't really face larger risks than a man here, but the sexual assault rate is slightly higher than the national average. Texas is a state where many people carry guns, so women aren't seen as weak and fragile as they might be in some other cities. Stay confident when you walk, avoid being out at night alone, and don't drink too much alcohol.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
As someone who has read more than 300 water quality reports in the past year, I want to give kudos to Fort Worth's water utility for stating, "We realize the technical information and presentation format can be confusing." The easy-to-read format provided explains not just the water quality but where the water comes from and what is being done to make a more resilient community when it comes to water use. The water quality report shows just one violation from March of 2021 that impacted a certain part of the community, but the issue has been addressed. There's a low risk overall.
Safest Places to Visit in Fort Worth
I’d probably never be welcomed to Fort Worth again if I didn’t start with the star attraction of the city – The Herd.
A cattle drive rumbles through town twice a day at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm, so it’s easy to plan your visit around.
The cattle drive happens in the Stockyards National Historic District.
This is no theater show with fake costumes and trained animals.
This is a real cattle drive.
Check the @FortWorthHerd Facebook page to ensure the weather isn’t impacting the event the day you plan to visit.
Take a step back in time at Log Cabin Village.
This historic village is a 19th-century theme park of sorts with workers in period costumes telling you about life on the range.
You can tour at your own pace and participate in crafts like candle making or weaving.
Log Cabin Village is closed Sundays and Mondays.
The Cultural District of Fort Worth is filled with museums and attractions in one convenient neighborhood.
See the Botanic Garden or take a trip to the zoo.
The Sir Richardson Museum has an expansive collection of unique Western art.
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is located here too.
Upscale shopping fills the stores of The Shops at Clear Fork.
While there are high-end retailers like Tiffany’s, you can also find more affordable options like Francesca’s.
There are plenty of dining options here on top of all that.
Outdoor lovers can find a lot of options without leaving Fort Worth.
Check the calendar for events at Panther Island or rent a kayak and ride the Clear Fork Trinity River.
Visit Airfield Falls Conservation Park to see a large waterfall in the heart of Texas.
Burger’s Lake is a great swimming hole with sandy beaches, slides, and diving boards right on the edge of a spring-fed lake.
If you want to see Fort Worth from above, Epic Helicopter Tours offers a variety of tours, including sunset rides and a “Night Lights Tour” where you can see the city from a whole new perspective.
Places to Avoid in Fort Worth
The southeast and northern sides of the city have higher crime rates, with a pocket of high crime on the west edge in Western Hills & Ridglea.
The police department is extraordinarily transparent with crime data city-wide and in different council districts, so it’s easy to research the neighborhoods.
It’s smart to always stay in tourist areas, near museums and places like the stockyards.
Stick to major surface streets and the interstates instead of cutting through different neighborhoods while driving.
You might hear stories of the Lake Worth monster, which is just west of the city.
The rumored part-man, part-goat has been widely discussed since the late 1960s.
The folklore still lives on with the Lake Worth Monster Bash in October.
Don’t avoid this area, but you should also know the history just in case someone tries to scare you.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fort Worth
- Look for #FortWorthSafe, as this is the hashtag used by the local police to bring about change to growing crime rates. You can review the strategy and successes of Fort Worth Safe on the police department’s website.
- Fort Worth police release crime data by quarter on its website. You should review the most recent crime before your visit to see if any new trends are popping up. There is also an annual report that summarizes the previous year’s crime data with explanations of challenges and successes.
- There’s an interactive crime map on the FWPD website too. This is a great way to look for specific crimes near your hotel or preferred attractions. The map is updated daily, so you don’t have to worry about outdated information.
- Fort Worth is battling a gang presence and has an aggressive anti-graffiti program. If you notice people making graffiti, don’t approach them. Just call (817)392-4222, which is the non-emergency number of the police department.
- Fort Worth has AHAS, which means Accessible Hazard Alert System. Sign up for emergency notifications through AHAS to get information about weather, hazmat, or any threat in the region.
- Download the MyFW app to report issues like downed trees or potholes, and you can see other reports people have made. This is especially helpful during or after a storm when there could be weather damage.
- Don’t drive through a flooded street. Parts of Fort Worth have flashing signs when the roadway ahead is underwater, but even if there isn’t a flashing sign, you should never go through a water-covered road. It just takes six inches of water to carry away a car or knock down a person.
- You can create a Nixle account to follow along with a first responder situation or weather event. This is the same account the local media uses to track events, so you’ll get the information at the same time as they do.
- If you want to visit Dallas while you’re here, avoid driving during the morning and evening rush hours. Traffic can be intense here. Try to avoid high volume times of day and plan your activities accordingly. The Texas Department of Transportation has a great interactive map where you can see accidents, delays, and live cameras around the metro area.
- You’ll be advised a lot, most likely, to eat at Joe T Garcias for some of the best Mexican food. You should know there can be wait times around the block and up to an hour long to eat here, so be prepared to stand outside for a while when you go.
So... How Safe Is Fort Worth Really?
The violent crime rates go up and down here, and just when it seems there is progress being made, a rash of crimes will happen.
In late August of 2022, the Fort Worth Police Department released updated crime information for the year.
This comes after the department started the Fort Worth Safe Violent Crime Strategy in April.
As of August 23, 2022:
- A 5.5% year-to-date decrease in homicides, which was actually even year-to-date by the time the news release came out.
- A 24% decrease in nonfatal shootings.
- A 23% decrease in overall aggravated assaults.
- A 2.4% increase in robberies.
Mayor Mattie Parker realizes this trend isn’t just in Fort Worth.
Cities across America are struggling with increasing violent crime and a lack of qualified police officers joining the ranks as openings come up.
Fort Worth was down 100 officers in April of 2022.
“Unfortunately, Fort Worth is not insulated from that conversation,” she said.
“While the overall crime rate is down 40%, our violent crime rate has risen dramatically, most recently during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In September 2022, the police department was given an independent review of its procedures and how well they are connecting with the community.
It wasn’t a great report card and could be a great catalyst for change and improving community relations – which ultimately leads to crime prevention and reduction.
Should you be overly worried about visiting Fort Worth?
“Stay in your lane,” as they say, and you’ll enjoy everything Cowtown has to offer.
Don’t wander into unknown neighborhoods, keep valuables locked up, always secure your car when parking, and always have good situational awareness.
If you still have concerns, each district has a crime prevention specialist in Fort Worth, and you can reach out to them to answer questions.
How Does Fort Worth Compare?
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You will need a U.S. Work or Tourist Visa unless you have a Visa Waiver from the State Department. You'll also need a passport to get through Border Patrol and Customs.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and across Texas, but so many items can be purchased online or with a credit card you really don't need to carry cash. If you need to exchange currency, there are plenty of banks to accommodate that.
Winters are somewhat mild, but you'll still need sweatshirts or sweaters (and cowboy shirts) and jeans. Summers are just very hot, with a healthy dose of humidity, so you'll sweat a lot. Bring bug spray too. It's always smart to bring layers of clothing since the weather in the DFW region can change quickly.
DFW airport is about 30 minutes without traffic, but plan for an hour's drive time to be safe. You can also use the rail line to get to DFW, and that ride takes 45 minutes, not including the time to get to the train station. Dallas Love Field is about 45 minutes away without traffic.
You should strongly consider travel insurance as sudden storms can easily wreak havoc on air travel. You'll want some kind of health insurance if your plan doesn't cover it because any stop at urgent care or hospital is going to cost a lot of money out of pocket.
Fort Worth Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Texas - Safety by City