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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Residents of Oklahoma City are killing each other at a far faster pace in 2021 than in the previous two years.

As of Wednesday, the total number of homicides for just the City of Oklahoma City was 64.

Homicide is the killing of one human being by another. Murder is a subset of that category that involves intent to kill and is often committed by someone who knows their victim.

Friday, Msgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department gave homicide numbers for previous years to Free Press.

As of Friday, Oklahoma City had reached its 60th homicide.

There were, compared to that SAME POINT in previous years,

  • 48 in 2019 and
  • 27 in 2020.

The TOTAL homicides for those years were:

  • 88 in 2019, and
  • 76 in 2020.

But, no homicide total lasts for long this year.

Over the weekend and then into Monday and Tuesday, OKCPD added four more to the count, pushing the city to reach either of the previous year’s totals far before December 31.

No “defunding” of OKCPD

One Republican Party talking point earlier in the summer was that the increase nationally in violent crimes was due to the effort started in 2020 to “defund the police” which was a rallying cry during the protests of the police killing of George Floyd.

But, while some local activists have promoted the concept of shifting resources into community outreach instead of the police, the budget for the Oklahoma City Police Department has increased for FY22 (the current budget year).

The current police budget is $227.7 million ($227,731,144).

And, except for a hiring freeze during the FY21 budget year concluded June 31, the addition of new positions in the department slowly moved up each year since FY18. The current FY22 budget year that started July 1 adds new positions for OKCPD.

An active recruitment effort is underway now to fill those new positions. A new academy class started this summer to fill natural attrition in the department.

National trend

Nationally, 2021 has been an unusually brutal year continuing a trend of violent crimes against persons that started in 2020 during the pandemic.

According to a research report recently released by the Council on Criminal Justice, a non-partisan think tank:

  • The number of homicides increased by 16% during the first half of 2021 – 259 more homicides – compared to the same period the year before, and by 42% – claiming an additional 548 additional lives – compared to the same time frame in 2019. The increase in homicide slowed between the first and second quarters of 2021.
  • The aggravated assault rate was 9% higher in the first half of 2021 than during the same period in 2020, and the gun assault rate was 5% higher in the first half of 2021 than the year before. Motor vehicle theft rates were 21% higher in the first half of 2021 than the year before.

Free press will continue to cover this important development throughout the remainder of the year.

Last Updated August 25, 2021, 12:00 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor