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TCSO, THA working to bring down crime, build safer communities

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 23:46:03-04

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies partnered with the Tulsa Housing Authority in the fall of 2017. Since then, they have made public housing communities safer.

The partnership is coming up on its expiration date, but is definitely renewed for another year. The unit is so successful, it is accomplishing more than what THA officials thought.

The Community Enhancement Unit (CEU) patrols all 17 of THA properties. They also engage with residents, which, typically starts with this question: “You want some candy,” Deputy Daniel Gullett asked children at the Comanche Park Apartments in Tulsa on Tuesday.

It takes time to build trust.

“It’s really simple things, just saying, ‘Hi,'” Gullett said.

He and seven others make up the CEU.

“Not to brag or anything, but it’s like the best of the best of the office," Gullett said.

Everyone in the unit comes from a specialized field. Most are on the SWAT team. There is a hostage negotiator, civil support team member, and they are all trained for crisis intervention.

“Say we run into someone who’s mental health or having a crisis, we have those tools to sit there and start talking to them, help them to calm down,” Gullett said.

Something they have already calmed is crime.

“When we first started, we were pulling guns and dope," Gullett said. "Now, it’s rare that we find guns or dope out here.”

Comanche resident of four years, NaDean Kalaity, notices the differences since the unit started.

“It’s been settling down a lot,” Kalaity said. “We’re just glad to have somebody out here looking out for our residents.”

Ginny Hensley, vice president of THA Communications, keeps track of the statistics.

“Between January and August of 2019 compared to that same time frame now, we have seen a 40% reduction in arrests,” Hensley said.

Hensley also mentions misconceptions about public housing residents.

“One of those is that it’s our residents that are the ‘troublemakers’ or the ones who are causing issues in our communities, and that is categorically false,” Hensley said.

93% of crime reported at THA properties in 2019 was committed by non-residents.

“Another misconception is that our public housing communities contribute greatly to the overall crime rate in Tulsa,” Hensley said.

In 2018 and 2019, less than 2% of all crime in the City of Tulsa happened at THA sites.

For more information about the Tulsa Housing Authority, click here.

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