Tahlequah Daily Press


August 14, 2013

Violent crime rate raises eyebrows

NEW YORK — Most Oklahomans, if asked which cities in their state log the most violent crimes, would probably say Oklahoma City or Tulsa. But that’s not necessarily so, according to Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit organization that generates and disseminates information on in-depth and investigative issues.

While the state’s two largest cities usually get most of the ink and air time, some smaller burgs run about dead even statistically with Tulsa, and fare even worse than OKC. That’s based on figures provided by the FBI.

Ardmore, with a population of about 24,500, was at the head of the pack, marking 405 violent crimes in 2011 – the most recent year for which statistics are available. That’s 1,650 per 100,000 residents, which could be cause for alarm among cities of this south-central Oklahoma city. Tulsa came in second, followed by Durant and Ada, and then OKC.

The closest city to Tahlequah that appeared in the list of the 20 most violent cities in 2011 was Muskogee, which weighed in at No. 13; it was bracketed by Glenpool at No. 12 and Okmulgee at No. 14. The only other Green Country cities on the list were Miami, at No. 17, and McAlester, rounding it out at No. 20.

It should be noted that the data point to increases in violent crime, not just its occurrence. That’s an interesting observation, since overall in the United States, violent crime declined each year from 1992 to 2011, other than 2005 and 2006. The 2011 rate was almost 50 percent lower than in 1992, according to the FBI.

And from 2007 to 2011, the drop in the country’s violent crime rate averaged about 5 percent each  year. In Oklahoma, the decline was only 1.5 percent. Most experts give the continuing economic doldrums at least part of the blame.

Where does Tahlequah fit into this picture? No one really knows, because according to Oklahoma Watch, the Tahlequah Police Department probably didn’t submit numbers to the FBI. It could have been an oversight, or the former administration may have elected not to participate. Lack of detail certainly doesn’t indicate no crime happened that year, as a search on our website can attest.

Incidentally, Hulbert did turn in figures. With its population of 596 that year, it reported one violent crime, which was an aggravated assault.

While such information may pander to the baser instincts of alarmists, ambulance chasers and rubberneckers, it’s also a matter of public record – and it’s information to which the local public should have access. We trust Police Chief Nate King will offer his constituents a more transparent look at crime in their community.

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    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014


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