Tulsa's Homeless Population Worried Amid Uptick In Crimes Involving Them
TULSA, Oklahoma - A homeless man accused of sexually assaulting and stabbing a homeless woman is just the latest in a wave of crimes involving the homeless community in Tulsa.
A man died last week after police say he and two others were intentionally run over.
Now other people who live on the street said they're scared.
Anthony Jimerson and Charles Stinescipher were once homeless on the streets of Tulsa.
Both are now in the rehabilitation program at the John 3:16 mission.
They said lately it's gotten rougher for people on the street.
"They just had a death behind David L. Moss, there was some people that got assaulted under the bridge over here, there was a lady that got stabbed," Jimerson said.
Just one week ago a man was killed and three others injured after police say Jeremy Thacker targeted homeless people, running them over with his truck.
This week, a woman was sexually assaulted and stabbed downtown.
The Reverend Steve Whitaker said there is a widespread sense of fear.
"I think there is a measure of paranoia right at this moment that somebody's out there that wants to do harm to the homeless in general and that's a matter of grave concern for the population we're serving right now," Whitaker said.
Whitaker said while living on the streets is already dangerous, violence for whatever reason is on the rise.
"We're not sure really what's going on, except that the streets are pretty mean right now and we're asking all persons that are experiencing homelessness to consider finding their way to shelter," Whitaker said.
"People used to be able to sleep out and felt relatively safe but with the change of events here in the last few months, it's really not a safe place to be," Jimerson said.
Some people said they even had friends disappear, but experts said this violence and these rumors are hard to decipher because the homeless population just isn't easy to track.