New Study Shows Violent Crime Rising

Friday, March 16th 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

Violent crime is on the rise across the nation. A new study says we're facing an alarming trend as many cities deal with double-digit, even triple-digit increases in homicides and other crimes involving guns. The group that did the study is the Police Executive Research Forum, they took crime stats from 2004 to 2006 from 56 cities and found violent crime is definitely making a comeback, especially in Middle America. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright takes a look at what the study means. She reports the good news is, at least in that two-year period, Tulsa is bucking the trend.

The resurgence in violent crime first showed up in 2005, but some people thought it was a just a one-time blip in the numbers. When it continued in 2006, police chiefs and sheriff's started looking at it as a "gathering storm" of crime that cannot be ignored. Others say it's too soon to panic.

"Everybody wants a low crime rate, the lower the better, but you can't judge everything on statistics," Tulsa Police Captain Dennis MacDonnell said.

Half of the 56 cities surveyed had an increase in homicides from 2004 to 2006, 75% of them had an increase in robberies and nearly 70% had an increase in assaults involving guns. No cities in Oklahoma were surveyed.

While Tulsa set a record for homicides three years ago, the number has gone down since then.

"Over the last two years, Tulsa's crime has gone down,” said MacDonnell. “We've added officers to the beat, have more officers patrolling and we believe that's why our crime rate is down."

Researchers say we're beginning to see a national trend that should serve as a warning that city, state and national governments need to refocus attention on crime, so we can get back to the safety and security we saw in the 1990s, when the nation saw a dramatic decrease in crimes. Because of that, the U.S. Attorney General has asked Congress to spend $200 million next year to help cities fight gangs, drugs and gun crimes.

The study says the Feds have spent so much time and money worrying about terrorism that they're not doing as much to fight local crime. But Tulsa police say they get lots of help from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and the FBI's innocent images task force.