TPD say Tulsa homicide rate could exceed 2012

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 5/14/2013 8:35 am Published: 5/13/2013 4:23 pm

Tulsa is on track to have more homicides this year, compared to last.

After two homicides in one weekend, the count so far for 2013 is 28.

Police say it can seem like things are getting out of control, but after talking with police, FOX23 found out the numbers can be misleading if they're not in context.

Yvonne Brantley lives right across the street from where Robert Middlebrooks was killed on Saturday, near North Florence and Admiral.

Brantley says lately she fears for her safety in Tulsa, "yes, in a way I am, because it used to not be like this."

"Our crime rate been getting worse the last three or four years now," she said.

The crime rate is actually going down. In 2010, Tulsa had 60 homicides, in 2011, the number dropped to 55 and last year, just 46.

Sgt. Dave Walker, who heads up Tulsa police's Homicide Unit, says after starting the year with the quadruple shooting at 61st and Peoria, things have actually calmed down in March, April and May.

"I think the numbers are going to be high this year. They're going to be higher than last year, obviously, but as far as saying 'boy, we've got a problem in this town,' we had a problem in this town in January and February. And we took care of it," said Walker.

For people like Brantley, after two homicides in one weekend, it's hard to see that.

Walker says people should focus on the solve rate, not just the homicide rate.

"And that's what we've done to the tune of an 85 percent solve rate so far this year. And the other ones are real close," said Walker.

Police say it is almost impossible to stop domestic-related killings, like Robert Middlebrooks' over the weekend and robberies that become homicides, like Kevin Hawkins' also over the weekend.

Tulsa police said they would like to have fewer homicides, but all they can do is make sure they solve as many of them as possible and get killers off the streets.

"We're always striving to get a 100 percent solve rate if we can. But I would like to solve 30 at a hundred percent as opposed to 60," said Walker.

Police Chief Chuck Jordan has been lobbying the mayor and city council for funding to add more officers on the streets. Jordan told FOX23 having more officers doesn't directly correlate with fewer homicides.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 5/13/2013 6:14 PM
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It's safe to say that one is too many. As much as I hate to say it there will always be another. In the words of a famous King, "can't we all just get along?"
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