Tulsa police fight crime with alcohol checks

TULSA - Tulsa police are trying a new approach to fighting crime.
 
They're targeting some areas of the city for alcohol enforcement. And they're catching bigger violations along the way.

2NEWS tagged along with police during a sting operation Thursday night near 61st and South Peoria Avenue.

Police officers checked in at bars, restaurants and convenience stores near high crime areas. And they weren't undercover for a reason.

"Just so they know we're there, they see us all the time. And people are going to get used to this. And that's what we really want," said ABLE Commission Agent Erik Smoot.

It all started with a license check. As soon as officers came through the door, they asked employees to show them their city and liquor licenses.

Next they checked bartender's identification and records.

"I think it's a good thing. It's a great thing that they're making sure you know everyone is safe," said bar patron Naomi McCoy Shognosh.

Some nights officers say they find bigger violations.

"The other night we were down at a convenience store just down the street here, and the owner was sitting in his car getting drunk. So he went to jail for DUI in his car, just as we were pulling up at 5:20 in the afternoon," Smoot said.

Smoot says so far police have uncovered nearly two dozen warrants in just a few shifts. He says officer presence can cut down on violent crimes.

"So we never know what we're going to find. But if we find an offense, they're going to go to jail for it. We want that to be real clear," Smoot said.

Police say the plan is to continue these checks for the next six months. Depending on the results, they may extend it after that.

Police are also targeting the area around 47th and South Braden Avenue.

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