DA worried crime levels will spike with budget cuts

Thursday, March 6th 2008, 9:48 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

The Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office said they are losing $400,000 by the end of this summer from federal budget cuts.

District Attorney David Prater said his biggest concern is the recent rise in violence across the county. With warmer weather around the corner, Prater said more crime is likely.

But the bad news didn't stop there.

"The Oklahoma State Legislature sent out request to state agencies, including our own, asking how a two percent cut would affect you," Prater said.

Prater said if the state legislature tries to cut funding after these federal budget cuts, his office could close to two dozen principal positions -- including personnel in a department devoted to gang-related crimes.

"If that goes away, those drive-bys are going to go up and so are those gang related homicides," Prater said.

Prater said he'll do his best to keep crime-fighting efforts at an effective level, although the lack of funding could keep that from happening.

"Gang members and others can read, and they watch the news. This is going to make them happy," Prater said.

Prater is encouraging all citizens to write or contact state lawmakers and urge them to keep funding for all public safety agencies.