Citizens, Deputies Work To Keep Criminals Off Tulsa County's Osage Trail
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - One neighborhood is teaming up with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is taking crime into their own hands by increasing patrolling on a popular Tulsa pedestrian trail.
The Osage Trail, which runs 20 miles across Tulsa County, was intended to be used for exercises, but in the last few years, it’s turned into a hub for criminal activity.
“They use it as a thieves highway,” says Jason Turley, the Chairman of Turley Community Association. He tells News On 6 that the trail has been drawing burglars and criminals in the night and morning hours and upsetting locals.
“They move up and down and move in between nighttime shifts and go by businesses and take what they want,” says Turley, "and its getting to the point that the pot was boiling over."
Neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands, starting a Turley Community Watch three months ago. Last month, they asked the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office to increase their patrols as well.
News On 6 rode along with Sergeant Travis Jones, who says they have seen crimes from burglaries to even assaults on the trail.
“They will shoplift from Dollar General a lot, Warehouse Market,” says Jones. “That's why we stick with the people who wandering around that look like they don’t belong or have backpacks - things that may give indicators of suspicious activity."
A tactical team also walks the trails and examine any footprints or markings along the trail. They, along with the traffic unit, also talk to people on the trails as well. Jones and Turley say the teamwork has been a success.
“Our call load isn’t as much because we are present,” says Jones.
“Since we started three months ago we decreased foot traffic 90 percent," says Turley, "and we’ve been able to separate people who are just walking and people who are up to no good.”
The Sheriff’s Office says they plan to continue increased presence in the area in hopes it will reduce crime and keep residents and businesses from leaving the town.