Not only are some crimes going unsolved in Tulsa, some of them aren't even being worked by the police department.
The Tulsa Police Department says because of staffing cutbacks, officers can no longer investigate misdemeanor crimes, only felonies. That makes some citizens furious, the problem is, they're not sure who to blame.
News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says Carl Smith is the father of five owns a lawn service business, so, every penny counts. That's why he was so upset when someone stole a $500 piece of equipment from is garage, someone he confronted.
Carl put his garage door up, got a phone call and went inside then heard someone pull up to this drive-way. He came out and asked the man what he was doing and the man said he was looking for his cell phone. Carl told the man to leave and later noticed his blower had been stolen.
The next day, while mowing the yard, Carl found the man's cell phone lying in the grass." From that phone, Carl learned all about the man who dropped it and took his blower and gave all that information to police.
What happened next shocked Carl even more than the theft. Phone answering machine: "Because of staffing cutbacks, we can't investigate misdemeanors." That's right; the department can only investigate felonies.
"I said, I provided you the name, address, description of the car and tag number and you can't go check it out. She said at this time, we just can't do it." Smith says police told him it was the mayor's fault for slashing the department's budget. His city councilor said police were just trying to get leverage in the current contract negotiations.
Smith just wants the city to be safe. "This is wrong. If Tulsa has a vision for 2025, they need to take care of 2004. If we can't stop these street crimes, we need to do something about 2004. If we can't stop the street crimes, it's bad, they're nickel and dime us to death."
Police officers say they want to investigate all crimes, they're just too strapped and the proof, they say, is in how creative they are being to find extra manpower. They are now using recruits from the academy class and even retired officers to help in the detective division. Next, they plan to ask the reserve officers to look over some of the cases that aren't getting the attention they need.
At one point, the owner of the cell phone offered to get Carl his blower back in exchange for the phone, but then that fell through, so now, he's stuck and if he takes matters into his own hands, he'll be the one in trouble.