Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office Says Law Is Causing Spike In Burglaries, Forms New Taskforce
OKLAHOMA COUNTY - Investigators have formed a taskforce to tackle a growing problem.
According to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, since the start the year, thieves have stolen more than half a million dollars in property in Oklahoma County.
According to the sheriff’s office, the numbers have spiked since Oklahomans voted in favor of State Question 780 in 2016.
“Just want folks to know there have been some repercussions from that and there’s a lot of folks getting their stuff stolen,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Mark Meyers.
According to the latest OSBI numbers from 2017-2018, larceny crimes in Oklahoma County increased by more than 7%.
“What we're finding is, it’s basically just a free for all right now through portions of Oklahoma County,” said Meyers.
Under 780, some low-level drug and property crimes were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.
“The threshold has been lowered as far as concerning thefts. For a felony it used to be $500, and now it’s a $1,000,” said Meyers.
Meyers said criminals have taken note.
“We’re also finding inmates or criminals we're speaking with are bragging about it. They understand the law and even take calculators with them to make sure they are stealing less than $1,000,” said Meyers.
He said it’s because crimes don't have boundaries, and more often than not spill into bordering counties.
He said “MASE” or Multi-jurisdiction Anti-crime Support Effort will crack down on crimes, similar to a burglary bust in January that spanned multiple counties. It resulted in the recovery of tens of thousands of dollars in stolen goods and led to multiple arrests.
“They are sharing resources, information, working with each other on similar cases, determining if they have similar suspects,” said Meyers.
The task force meets twice a month.