At least two other Oklahoma cities experienced an unusual spike in homicides for 2012.
Lawton police opened 16 homicide investigations for the year, their highest since 1976, and Midwest City police investigated eight.
Police officials in both cities said they can't attribute the numbers to any one cause.
“What's curious with ours is we had these eight the first six months of the year and then we haven't had any the second half — so it's really hard to tell what causes this,” said Sid Porter, assistant police chief in Midwest City.
Midwest City police investigated fewer than three homicides each year since 2001 and six in 2000, Porter said.
A majority of homicide investigations last year stemmed from domestic abuse cases, he said.
“It's not like a stranger, it's not like a whodunit that didn't know the victim. You get a murder-suicide or people that have been hanging out together and been trouble,” he said.
Capt. Craig Akard, who supervises the detective unit for Lawton police, said the spike in homicide investigations there has left detectives scratching their heads.
Lawton police investigated 10 homicides in 2011, three in 2010 and nine in 2009.
“We had six homicides in October alone,” Akard said. “I think that's the most that we've had in one month ever. Yeah, people are concerned, but what we've seen is it's not just innocent people getting killed.”
With the exception of Tulsa, where city police investigated 46 homicides in 2012, such incidents remain within single digits in the rest of the state's 10 most populous cities.
Tom Easley, spokesman for Norman police, said violent crime in Oklahoma City does not necessarily correlate to violent crime in its suburb cities and towns.
In 2012, Norman police investigated only one homicide.
“Obviously, we have of course a smaller population, but we also have a little different, eclectic mix than Oklahoma City does,” Easley said. “And also I would point to more community involvement from the police side of the equation. I can't say we're more involved than Oklahoma City is, but we work at it as do members of the community to keep the lines of communication open.”
Oklahoma's largest cities' homicides
Population*; 2012 homicides; and homicide rates (per thousand people) in Oklahoma's 10 most populous cities:
Oklahoma City — 591,912; 99; .17
Tulsa — 396,039; 46; .12
Norman — 113,274; 1; .01
Broken Arrow — 103,118; 1; .01
Lawton — 98,180; 16; .16
Edmond — 82,961; 3; .04
Moore — 55,207; 1; .02
Midwest City — 54,711; 8; .15
Enid — 49,279; 2; .04
Stillwater — 45,723; 1; .02
*Based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates for July, 2011, the latest data available