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Tulsa ends 2016 with uptick in crime

Posted at 5:27 PM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 19:24:52-05

One of Tulsa's most crime-ridden years is finally coming to an end...but for many detectives, the work to solve thousands of cases will continue into the new year.

In a perfect world, detectives who work cases ranging from theft to homicide say they're determined to solve them all.

But 2016 proved to be a busier year than any of them expected.

“It takes its toll. There's no doubt about it,” said Homicide Sergeant Dave Walker.

Perhaps no one is ready to see 2016 more than Walker.

“I did not expect 81 murders this year,” he said. “We can't keep at this pace for another year. You'll see some of these things break down.”

Despite one of the best solve rates in the country, his unit faced one of its toughest workloads.

“When you get them stacked up, you get 3 or 4 deep at a time, it gets hard,” he said. “We're all human. We all get tired, we all get run down, we get on each others' nerves a little bit.”

And it's not just homicides.

On its website, Tulsa Police reported 426 rapes from January to November.

That's 65 more than in 2015, and nearly double the number from 2010.

Theft has also spiked...with more robbery and larceny reports than in the past three years.

“We don't see a lot of them that come in. We just don't have the time, the money or the people,” said Burglary Sergeant Brian Blair.

But for the ones they do investigate, Sergeant Blair says residents have been the key to solving them.

“More and more people have been getting home security systems and that helps us a lot,” he said.

Meanwhile, Walker doesn't believe many violent crimes are random.

He believes 2017 could be quieter than its predecessor, but he says that won't stop him from putting suspected killers behind bars.

“I'm very proud to work with these people. And I think going into 2017, we'll be right there with Tulsa and whatever they want to throw at us,” he said.

The City of Tulsa is set to hire 160 new officers to help implement Mayor Bynum's community policing plan.

Bynum believes improving Tulsa's relationship with its police officers will ultimately chip away at local crime.