Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

October 31, 2012

Safety key to better communities

TAHLEQUAH — Criminal justice theory contends a safe community is the result of the quality of life it presents.

As part of the 2012 Northeast Oklahoma Regional Summit held at the Northeastern State University Center Tuesday, law enforcement officials, university academics and several community leaders shared a conversation about the importance providing a safe environment for families, businesses and the area as a whole.

During his introduction, NSU President Dr. Steve Turner provided a brief history lesson on the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Oklahoma Constitution and the U.S. Constitution to emphasize that individuals ultimately want to feel protected and safe. Turner has a background in law enforcement as well as education.

“You can look throughout time and see that we’ve had this understanding that people expect safety,” said Turner. “Most of us don’t even think about some of the issues that are going on, but you’re going to learn today – especially from these leaders in different areas of the criminal justice arena – that safety is an element, and it does have a significant impact on their communities.”

Turner said he’s learned, over the years, that when it comes to economic development, business owners look to two primary factors when considering location.

“The No. 1 thing businesses will look at to relocate is, can they be successful in the community [where] they’re relocating? Can they [have] a successful workforce?,” he said. “The critical piece of what we have to look at in quality of life  – and we no longer think about it – is safety.”

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Director Darrell Weaver grew up as one of five kids with a mother who governed their home with “the family Bible,” and without drug abuse or violence. Weaver shared a story about his first assignment as a commissioned drug agent, and was astounded to find what people were doing in the alleyways or parking lots of some Oklahoma communities.

“The first drug deal that I ever listened to was in a parking lot in an alleyway in Marlow, and I remember listening to that and I told myself, ‘you mean to tell me this really goes on out here?’” he said.

“We are in a society that is just consumed with this concept of addiction. We are in Oklahoma. Addiction rates are out of sight, and many of these – not just some, but many of them – are very difficult to wrap your hands around.”

Weaver said the drug problems in the state are exacerbated by individual circumstances. For instance, a convenience store clerk, who may be working to makes ends meet as he or she attends college classes, may sell a substance like synthetic marijuana to an undercover drug agent.

“This young man is 18 years of age and doesn’t have a silver spoon in his mouth, like many do in this room, and he’s battling away to get his education. They’re finding a means to get educated and find their way out of a situation and live a clean life, and they’re working at a convenience store. It just so happens that the owner of this convenience store is one of these individuals who’s making hundreds of thousands of dollars off the substance called K2, or synthetic marijuana, which is illegal,” Weaver said.

“It’s a Schedule 1 drug. What do you do with the kid when he sells it to you? Do we arrest the kid? We’ve got to provoke thought if we ever want to get our hands around what’s going on with our drug issues. There is not anything in Oklahoma that would destroy our communities or deter what we want for our state faster than the drug issues. Period.”

NSU Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Cari Keller believes the key to creating a safe environment is involvement.

“Dr. Turner raised a theory called ‘routine activity theory’ that talks about the guardian, the target and the motivated offender. I’d like to speak to about the broken windows theory. The concept of the broken windows theory really involves the community in solutions,” Keller said.

“The gist of it is, you have this disorder that goes untreated. When you have this type of disorder that goes untreated, you have citizens who become fearful and withdrawn from your community. You want your citizens to participate. If they withdraw, you lose your informal social control.”

Keller said as social control decreases, fear of crime and fear of risk increase, which creates a breeding ground for crime.

“[The broken window theory] addresses two types of disorder: physical disorder and social disorder, which probably many of you see in your communities,” said Keller.


To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014

  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.


    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US