Records Show Trends And 'Hot Spots' For Tulsa Burglars
TULSA, Oklahoma - Nearly 500 times a month in the city of Tulsa, a thief breaks into someone's home. We wanted to know which neighborhoods get hit the most and how thieves pick the houses they hit.
I requested five years' worth of burglary cases from Tulsa police and sorted through thousands of cases to find Tulsa's burglary hotspots. I learned burglars don't like to work weekends, the vast majority of burglaries happen Monday through Friday, Friday being their favorite day, Sunday their least.
Most break in between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. while you're at work; they want to hit an empty house.
Many burglars knock on your door and listen to find out if a house is empty, and if no one answers, they kick it in. These knock and kicks happen to hundreds of people in Tulsa every month.
They are looking for electronics mainly; cell phones, tablets and flat screen TV's, anything that's easy to carry and easy to pawn.
They're going to look for guns too. They find a lot of them under the mattress or in the nightstand.
Finally, jewelry; family heirlooms mean everything to you, but nothing to thieves who want to sell it and get it melted down ten days later.
"It's the worst feeling in the world to have your home broken into for one thing, and things you never get back. Things you'll never see or be able to go into a store and buy again," said burglary victim Latoyia.
Latoyia's home has been hit three times in the past three months. It's one property crime that feels very personal. She said it feels like she's been invaded.
A map shows the top five neighborhoods in Tulsa for the most burglaries in the last five years are:
1) 51st Street North to 61st Street North, between Cincinnati and Garrison.
2) 36th Street North to 38th Street North, from Peoria to Quaker; near the Comanche Park Apartments.
3) 41st Street to 48th Street, from Highway 169 to 118th Street.
4) 56th Street to 61st Street, from Peoria to Riverside Drive.
5) 51st Street to 56th Street, from Utica to Lewis.
Police say different types of burglars target different parts of town. Up north, they're mostly juveniles who live close, hitting their neighbors again and again, like in Latoyia's case.
"I feel it's the same people. Somebody right up under my nose, in my neighborhood, watching me, who knows my daily schedule," she said.
But, in neighborhoods by the fairgrounds, Utica Square or south of the Creek Turnpike, it's strangers.
"There's definitely a difference in type of burglaries in different areas of town. Midtown Tulsa gets hit by a lot of serial burglars that come in that aren't related to the neighborhoods. They just target that area specifically," said Sergeant Shellie Wood-Siebert with the Tulsa Police.
As for time of year burglars hit most, it's summer time. Break-ins pick up in July, peak at the end of August, calm down during the cooler months, then spike again between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Burglars may not watch your every move, but they do watch your habits. If you're the only one who doesn't have trash out on trash day, if there's an oil spot in your drive-way where a car usually parks but is gone and they love seeing what you have.
"I've had burglars tell me having windows on garage doors is the best thing ever because you can go look and see if a car is in there," Wood-Seibert said.
The good news is burglaries in Tulsa went down the past two years. And, there are some ways to help keep thieves out; like a barking dog, an alarm system or steel reinforced doors.
If you put your valuables in a small safe, make sure it's bolted to the floor and keep your family heirlooms in a safety deposit box.
You can also use your phone to take pictures of everything, including serial numbers.
As far as the knock and kick technique, making noise is better than pretending you're not home. Talk through the door or blast the TV to let them know the house is not empty, and in most cases, they'll go away.