Number Of Tulsa Murders Double '08 Rate

Tuesday, June 16th 2009, 5:16 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Twice as many people have been murdered in Tulsa during the first six months of this year, compared to last year.  Tulsa's had 32 homicides, compared to 16 through June 13th of last year.  Eleven resulted from some type of fight.  Ten were gang or drug related.  Five were the result of domestic violence.  And, there were two from robberies.  Three remain unknown and there was one child death.

If there is any good news regarding the murder rate, it is that 82% of this year's cases are solved, as were about 80% of last year's.  The national average for solved cases is 60%.

The detectives who investigate the killings are called out at all times of the day and night.  And, regardless of the number of murder scenes they witness, they never become numb.  They see the devastation and the grief of the families left behind and want to bring them justice.

As new cases pour in, they also are working old cases from years past.

"Our slate is not clean on January 1st. It just starts a whole new round of numbers. We don't forget the ones from previous years," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Huff.

Sgt. Huff says homicide is a tough crime to prevent because it's hard to predict when someone will get murder in their heart and sometimes, one act of violence can lead to others, like with  gang violence.

"A moment of bad judgment can spur months of violence and many more months on top of that to wrap it up," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Huff.

He also believes people no longer take ownership of their neighborhood and community like they used to, which can contribute to a growing violent crime rate.  But, mostly, he sees too many young people easily getting and too willingly using guns.

"If you've got a child and find a gun in or around your children or you find they're running around people with guns, eliminate that," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Huff.

He says where BB guns used to be a stretch for kids to own, police routinely now see young people with 9 mm and .40 calibers and tragedy doesn't even begin to cover the end results.

Tulsa's homicide squad also handles all the shootings, stabbings, kidnappings and missing person reports and yet, even with the murder rate doubled, they have the same number of detectives as last year working the cases.