A look at crime reported within a mile of Chesapeake Energy Arena on recent Thunder game days shows property and alcohol-related crimes are more common than violent disturbances.
Reports also reveal the crowd gathered outside the arena to watch May's playoff games was growing increasingly violent before shots rang out May 21 a few blocks east of the arena. Eight people were shot and a pregnant woman trampled after the Thunder clinched the Western Conference championship that night.
Nothing came close to that level of violence during regular season games in April, Oklahoma City police reports show.
Thefts from vehicles were more common. A number of vehicles had windows smashed and items stolen during an April 11 regular season game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The burglaries occurred under Interstate 40 in the area of SW 3 and Compress Street, according to reports. Most of the cars broken into had items in plain view on the seats.
Arrests for alcohol-related offenses were typical on game days. Many of those arrests resulted from individuals purchasing alcohol with fake IDs inside the arena or of-age individuals furnishing drinks to their underage friends, reports show.
Watch parties in Thunder Alley began with the late-April series against the Dallas Mavericks. The parties drew thousands to watch games on a giant outdoor screen affixed to the arena.
Police reports from that point forward paint a picture of increasingly violent crowd members outside the arena.
“It brought a lot more people down into the area that weren't going into the game or into Bricktown,” said Capt. Don Martin, who is in charge of the police department's Bricktown substation. “It brought a congregation of people outside. That may contribute to some of what you're seeing.”
On May 16, during the Lakers playoff series, police officers with the department's gang enforcement unit spotted and arrested two known gang members near the arena. The gang unit made a third arrest when it broke up a disturbance near Thunder Alley that night. The incidents occurred between 10 and 11:40 p.m.