Police Prepared To Set New Focus On Crime Hotspots

Wednesday, July 24th 2013, 11:16 pm
By: News 9

Officers are set to tackle what neighbors are calling an overwhelming mess. Police say they are ready to shift gears with a fresh focus on crime hotspots in Oklahoma City.

Most of the violence involves gangs, according to police. It's not uncommon for officers to saturate their turf. When that happens, the gangs eventually go elsewhere, according to Capt. Dexter Nelson.

Violence in Oklahoma City reached a boiling point Tuesday night. Detectives worked three homicides throughout Oklahoma City. They also worked a shooting at NE 36th and Prospect, where that act of violence did not come as a surprise to neighbors.

"If you don't live here, don't bring it here because the kids are important," neighbor Joyce Collins said.

Residents at Sooner Haven Apartments describe the complex as ground zero for violence in Northeast Oklahoma City.

"[There's] far too much violence," neighbor Ann Coleman said. "I'm trying to get away, like ASAP."

Parents say youngsters were outside during Tuesday's shooting. In 2012, after a string of incidents, the city housing authority conducted a security assessment. As a result of the assessment, more lights were added outside buildings and a stronger fence was built spanning the entire south side of the property.

"People have to get involved for their own protection and their own safety," Nelson said.

The police gang unit at Sooner Haven pulled back in early 2013 as crime in the area fell, but Tuesday night's shooting has officers reconsidering that decision. It also has neighbors demanding more from officials.

"You want to see [the kids] grow up, keep the violence away," Collins said.

Police say extra patrols from the department's overtime program can curb much of this violence.