The number of homicides are up in Tulsa

Friday, June 27th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The makings of a bloody year in Tulsa. We're on pace to set a record in the number of homicides. Tulsa had 34 homicides last year. There have already been 30 so far this year and we're not even to the halfway point.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright checks to see how these many investigations are going on. The day-to-day work being done in a recent rash of shootings may not be as high profile as driving tanks and searching homes, but it is happening.

Homicide detectives have arrested seven people so far on a host of charges connected to the half dozen homicides and dozen other shootings since March. Tulsa Police Homicide Sgt Mike Huff, "We're making progress. We've cleared a couple off the boards and we're moving ahead with significant progress to get these solved."

Here's an inside look at this multi-agency, multi-pronged approach. The warrants sweep helped police get potential suspects off the streets and get updated pictures of them. The gang patrols help identify future targets and put together gun and drug warrants. The intelligence gathering focuses on specific cases and allows them to get probable cause warrants. The prosecutor briefings help state and federal attorneys keep in touch and focus on the most active criminals.

As bad as it is right now, it's not the worst it's ever been in Tulsa. Police say these cycles of violence come and go depending on who's getting out of prison and what's happening on the streets. "You can look back several years to 1992 or 93 and we had 62 homicides and in 1981, we had 67, so these people cycle through."

The detectives created a chart to keep track of all the players in each of the gang related homicides. Most of them involve members of the Hoover Crips on one side and the Neighborhood 107 Crips on the other. The more people who go to jail, they say, the less chance the violence will keep spilling onto the streets.

Detectives say they now have a way to protect witnesses who come forward but are afraid of retaliation. Police didn't really have a way to do that before.