CrimeTracker Returns to News9.com
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The latest FBI statistics show crime is up in Oklahoma City, including increases in violent crimes, robberies, aggravated assault and burglaries.
Experts say the best defense against any crime is being aware of surroundings, including keeping an eye on neighborhoods for business owners and home owners.
Business is steady at George's Liquor in Oklahoma City, but each time a customer walks through the door, employee Becky Pittman gets a little nervous. Someone pulled a gun and robbed her business in January.
"My whole life turned upside down," Pittman said. "I think at that moment I was just in complete shock."
NEWS 9's new CrimeTracker displays the incident and other crimes in the area.
Georgie Rasco, executive director of the Neighborhood Alliance, said access to the information is valuable to her program, which sets up neighborhood patrols and watches in Oklahoma City.
"We get lots of requests for crime statistics and crime data," Rasco said.
Rasco receives reports of the area's crimes, but said it's been a process.
"Being able to go to the computer is a luxury that's going to be very nice rather than waiting once a month for the crime statistics report to be mailed to you," Rasco said.
"In the last four days, there have been helicopters around here twice," said Neila Crank-Clements of the neighborhood's Resident Association. "Yesterday, I was coming home from the store and there were police officers on every corner."
Neila Crank-Clements is working to echo other neighborhoods and set up a crimewatch in Military Park.
"The neighborhood is so large that it's kind of hard to keep an eye on everything," Crank-Clements said.
The NEWS 9 CrimeTracker allows Crank-Clements and other concerned neighbors to pinpoint specific locations, displaying different types of crimes and when they occurred.
"We hope what they're going to do with that information is go to the next neighborhood meeting and say, ‘Are you guys aware that this is going on here and what are we going to do as neighbors to try and make this neighborhood even safer?'" Rasco said.
Prevention and awareness are both tactics Rasco would like to see more of in Oklahoma City. As for her, she's installed new automatic locks, has plans to upgrade security cameras, and will soon arm the checkout counter behind bullet proof glass.
"It's just like part of me is gone," Rasco said. "They invaded our property, they invaded our lives and I wouldn't wish this on anybody to go through what we did."
The CrimeTracker currently follows crimes in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Tulsa and Bethany. The information comes straight from the police departments.
The CrimeTracker will continue to develop to soon include statistics from other cities around the state.