By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- There is good news to report when it comes to the Tulsa crime rate. Tulsa's homicide rate for 2010 is on a slower pace.
There have been 24 homicides so far in 2010, compared to 34 at this same time last year.
Homicide is considered the most serious of crimes, the taking of another human life. The FBI said 1,180 people have been murdered in Tulsa in the past 30 years. Of those cases, 957 have been solved, which is 81%, far above the national average of about 60. And those numbers don't include cases that were solved the next year or years later.
Homicide Sergeant Mike Huff has been in Tulsa's homicide squad during those 30 years and is proud of their record, but focuses more on those families still waiting for answers.
"We develop relationships with these people," Sergeant Huff said. "We look at each case on a case by case basis."
The vast majority of those killed in Tulsa are men, at 76%. Many of them were young, nearly half were between 20 and 34-years-old. Most of them were white, 52%; 42% were black, the rest, Asian, Hispanic and Indian.
Most were killed with handguns, 52%, followed by knives and then beatings.
"People are much more quick to use violence now than they were back then, when high school kids would meet at a playground and have a fist fight," Sergeant Huff said. "Now, 14 to 15-year-old kids are emptying clips from assault rifles from a moving vehicle, it's just crazy."
Most victims were killed over some type of argument. Despite what people might think, only about 5% were gang killings, 10% were killed during robberies, another 10%, drug-related and 3% were lovers' triangles.
In all but a few cases, there is a common denominator.
"Most people knew the person who killed them in some sort of continuing dispute that's arisen that's caused or precipitated that death," Sergeant Huff said.
Police believe homicides are harder to solve now than years ago, because criminals are smarter about crime scene evidence and do things like pick up shell casings, something they didn't see 10 to 15-years-ago. Plus, people are more reluctant to get involved as witnesses.