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Oklahoma City police begin anti-violent crime initiative

A grant will allow Oklahoma City police to more effectively combat violent crime in an area from N Meridian Avenue to N Council Road and Melrose Lane to NW 27.
BY LEIGHANNE MANWARREN Modified: November 4, 2013 at 9:10 pm •  Published: November 4, 2013

Police plan stepped-up patrols, stricter code enforcement and a more proactive approach for a 4.4-square-mile area of the city that has seen 1,466 violent crimes in the last five years, including 14 homicides.

Using funds from an Oklahoma attorney general's grant, five overtime police officers will monitor 911 calls and respond quickly to violent cases, but will spend most of their time working to prevent violence before it happens, police said Monday in launching the one-year program. The officers will work foot patrols, contact people, execute search warrants, identify drug activity areas and make arrests as the city tries to “take back” the neighborhood.

“This grant is vital in partnering with the community here. We wanted to partner with the community to help reduce the violent crime that has taken place in this area,” police Master Sgt. Bob Skalla said. “We're very excited about this grant because we understand the frustration of the community and this allows us to be proactive and partner up with community.”

The area being targeted extends from N Meridian Avenue to N Council Road and Melrose Lane to NW 27. Money for the program comes from a $750,000 Safe Oklahoma grant.

Skalla said the key is for officers to develop partnerships with the community, partnerships like the one formed with Kay Bale, property manager for Mulberry Park apartments, 7626 NW 10.

“What Kay has done here, we would like to see emulated with the other apartment complexes down here,” he said. “We would like to partner with other managers and complexes to make the area safer and secure.”

Bale said she took over management of the property in 2011 after it was sold to a local man hoping to turn it around.

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