Oklahoma City: One Of The Deadliest Places To Live? - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Oklahoma City: One Of The Deadliest Places To Live?

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At the first of July, there were 49 homicides in Oklahoma City. At the first of July, there were 49 homicides in Oklahoma City.

Homicide rates are on the rise here in Oklahoma City. But why are we seeing the sudden spike? And what can we do to stop it?

At the first of July, there were 49 homicides. Now we are at 51. That's 20 more than we had the first six months of last year. And it puts Oklahoma City in the top three cities of similar size for homicide rates across the country.

So will this rate continue? Police say they just don't know.

More than 50 men, women, and children have died in Oklahoma City since the beginning of the year and the number keeps growing. Most of them have been domestic-related murders, 11 in all.

It started in January with the high profile murders of Jaymie Adams and her unborn child. Her husband was later charged with their deaths, despite making a tearful plea to the public before he was arrested.

There was also the case of D.E. Abbott, who police say shot and killed his son Perry in their northeast Oklahoma City home.

Then in February came the tragic killing of Tara Johnston and her baby daughter Ali, who were discovered dead in their northeast Oklahoma City home. Her husband Daniel fled to Las Vegas where he committed suicide.

We're already close to our 12-month average. In four of the last five years, Oklahoma City's homicide rate has been in the 60s, with 2010 and 2011 the lowest at 60 homicides each year.

"Homicides are very unpredictable crimes. We don't know whether these numbers will slow down or if they will continue at the current pace," Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.

That pace ties for second highest among cities that police compare us to. As of July 1, only St. Louis had more murders than Oklahoma City; a total of 58. We were even with Kansas City, Missouri at 49. Nashville had 27. Tulsa had 26, 20 for Tucson, 16 in Omaha and 15 in Austin.

In March there were two tragic murder-suicides. The first involved Priscilla and Baanh Dinh of northwest Oklahoma City. The second happened inside a northwest Oklahoma City home, when a man killed his wife and child before turning the gun on himself. The couple had been going through a divorce.

"The majority of them are obviously people who know their victims. These are not random acts of violence that are being committed," Wardlow said.

And then there are the heartbreaking child abuse deaths. No one has been arrested in the February death of Lyrik Martin, who was taken to the hospital with severe head trauma and numerous broken ribs.

In June, two parents were arrested and charged with the death of their 3-month-old baby girl Nicole Soto, who doctors say was starved to death and weighed only three pounds when she died.

A week later, a father was arrested and charged with the murder of little Corbin Whitlow, who died at the hospital after being cared for by his dad.

"Obviously we want to find out who committed these, the ones that are unsolved, and we encourage anyone out there who has information on any of these cases to contact the police department," Wardlow said.

Here's how the other homicides break down: 14 of them involve gangs, five have been self-defense, four are officer-involved deaths, two are the result of a robbery, and three are the result of an argument. Nine are listed as unknown at this time.

Police say we can all help turn this growing problem around. And although the number of gang- related deaths seem high, police say they are actually on a downward trend.

Again, tips from the public are the key to solving a lot of crimes. You can contact Crime Stoppers at (405) 235-7300. You can stay anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.

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