Vacant Homes Attracting Crime, Homeless To NW OKC Neighborhood
OKLAHOMA CITY - Residents in a neighborhood near Northwest 10th and Meridian Avenue are fed up with, what they said, is a growing crime problem. They said vacant homes are attracting transients and putting their families in danger.
“Cops always say,” said Trisha Lamb, neighbor. “See something, say something.”
That is just what several of Lamb’s neighbors did late Sunday night when they heard a commotion at a vacant home on their street.
Police said the suspect, now identified as 36-year-old Barry McKinney placed copper pipes and tools he allegedly took from the home and put them inside large dumpsters in the front yard. The suspected burglar ran into the home when police arrived on scene.
“They eventually found him back out front,” said Msgt. Gary Knight, Oklahoma City Police Department. “He got on his bike and began to flee from the officers on his bicycle.”
Officers chased McKinney down on foot, and eventually caught up and arrested him.
Lamb said the transient problem in her neighborhood has gotten worse over the years.
“One ran up in my house and scared me half to death,” said Lamb. “We’ve caught them on the porch at night stealing cigarette butts out of my husband’s ashtray, which is just kind of creepy.”
She added, the homeless population lives in the abandoned homes even though some of them are under renovation.
“They go back and forth between these two houses,” said Lamb.
Lamb is frustrated and worried for her family's safety. She hopes police and homeowners can work together to stop the problem.
“It’s horrible,” said Lamb. “I can’t even let my girls walk to their bus stop.”
McKinney was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail. Police said he faces multiple complaints, including second degree burglary.