Tulsa Police Continue High Solve Rate For Homicides In 2019


Friday, December 27th 2019, 8:12 pm
By: News On 6


The year 2019 is almost over, and the Tulsa Police Homicide unit once again has a nearly 100% solve rate.

Thanks to the TV show the First 48, the Homicide Unit is well known around the country for their work.

Lt. Brandon Watkins with the homicide unit says drugs, domestic violence and robbery are tied to almost every Tulsa homicide.  Lt. Watkins took over as the head of the Tulsa Police homicide unit a year and a half ago.

Right now he has just two unsolved murders for 2019.

“Between 60 and 65 seems to be about the average; right now we are at 62. Last year we had 65,” says Watkins.

He said the numbers may seem startling to some, but he said we don't have many random strangers getting killed in Tulsa.

"A lot of our victims were kind of engaged in a high-risk lifestyle that led to where they are at. Drugs are big. Drugs are somewhere tied in to a big chunk of these homicides,” said Watkins.

Watkins said this year alone there have been 17 robbery-related murders. Sixteen murders were tied to domestic violence, and eight victims had direct ties to drugs.

The rest, Watkins said, were accidental or officer-involved.

He said 27 of the 62 homicides happened because of a fight that turned deadly.

But Watkins said robbery always leads the pack - because a robbery is always just one step away from a homicide.

"People get pistol whipped, people get stabbed, robbery is a incredibly violent crime,” said Watkins.

But how are they so successful?

Watkins said they have an "all hands on deck" mentality.

"We work it, really for the first two three four days we work it as almost everyone in the unit drops what they are doing and we focus on that most recent homicide,” said Watkins. “Our warrants unit basically runs people down for us."

But they don't do it alone.

Watkins thanked the people of Tulsa, for helping his team capture the killers.

"People talk to us. People want to help us out,” said Watkins. “We take that stuff, no matter how inconsequential it seems, and sometimes it is the thing we need to solve this case. We will take a thousand bits of bad information to get that one bit of good information."