We are less than a month away from Tulsa's mayoral election and the flood of radio and TV ads is only going to increase. One of the key points of debate for both candidates is Tulsa's crime rate.
Wednesday, Tulsa's police chief held a news conference, regarding the increase in homicides this year. But Tulsa Police Department said the goal was to let Tulsans know overall, crime is down.
But the Kathy Taylor campaign says this was about politics.
Tulsa has had 54 homicides, so far this year, which is up from last year's total of 42. What that number means, however, depends on which candidate you talk to.
"I think it's only fair to put this in a little perspective. In 1981, we had 63," said Chief Chuck Jordan.
Jordan said only nine of this year's homicides were gang or robbery related. He says deaths from child neglect and domestic crime are tragic, but outside of the department's control.
"Every police chief in the country will tell you that the crime they have the most trouble controlling the numbers is homicides," Jordan said.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett said former mayor Kathy Taylor's campaign is using scare tactics surrounding this year's number of homicides.
"Especially when it's compared to last year, which the lowest we've had in ten years...crime almost all the way across the board has been dropping," Bartlett said. "Burglaries, non violent theft, shoplifting--all these things are down."
The Taylor camp, however, said the discussion should be about violent crimes like rape and murder.
"This politically motivated press conference shows how out of touch the mayor is on this issue. We know for a fact that homicides are up 46 percent, we know that rape is up 30 percent this year, over last year," said Taylor's campaign manager, Monroe Nichols.
Taylor was out of town Wednesday.
"It's really a bad time when the police chief and the mayor say they can't do anything about homicides," Monroe said.
Comparing both candidates through September of their fourth year in office, Taylor's administration saw an average of 52 homicides per year and an average of 261 rapes.
Bartlett's administration saw about 48 homicides per year and 269 rapes.
The numbers that jump out over the last seven years are 69 homicides in 2009, under Taylor, and 316 rapes under Bartlett last year.
Both candidates say the key to stopping future crime is using the technology that's available and organizing neighborhood watch programs.
Kathy Taylor won the support of Tulsa's Fraternal Order of Police earlier this month.