Homicides decline in Oklahoma City in first quarter, but violent assaults continue to rise

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said homicides dipped in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 2012. Violent assaults, however, are on the upswing long-term. Residents at a northwest Oklahoma City apartment complex plagued by violent crime agree.
by Juliana Keeping Published: April 22, 2013

To address the violence, police are using overtime programs to deploy more patrols in areas where data shows violent assaults are on the rise, the chief said.

“People in those areas are going to see more officers,” he said. “They're going to see more enforcement occurring in those areas.”

Houston said he has seen more patrol cars in the Willow Cliff area.

Thursday's fight drew residents out of their homes. They looked at the scene, shaking heads. Houston and his mother were among them.

“It is disturbing. There are residents who have been here for 10, 15 years, and they love it here,” he said.

Technical tools

New technology is helping the police force prevent and solve crimes, Citty said.

In the past four months, some squad cars have been outfitted with license plate readers that automatically pick up numbers and run them through the National Crime Information Center. Criminals who steal cars typically commit other crimes, such as robbery, which can turn violent quickly, Citty said.

Criminals often make a digital record of their crimes on cellphones and on social networks. Those records help detectives secure a conviction in crimes such as homicide.

“People talk,” Citty said. “People who commit crimes talk.”

At Willow Cliff, residents hope the violence will stop.

Houston said young people without parental guidance, who lack core values and basic respect, get wrapped up in violence.

“These are children without adult supervision so to speak of,” he said, “or there are core values that have seemed to be lost somewhere along the way. That's noticeable by the language that they speak and even the tone that they use while they're speaking their language. It's a lack of respect.”

He said residents need to “stick together, stand up for one another.”


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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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A lot of the things we took for granted — the peace, the quiet in the evening. It's gone. It's gone now.”

Bennie Houston III,
Resident of Willow Cliff Apartments

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