Tulsa has seen its third highest amount of homicides recorded in a year in 2016 — 60 so far. But despite that number, violent crime in Tulsa has been on a long decline.

The Frontier analyzed FBI, Tulsa Police Department and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation crime statistics and found although some crimes increased in recent years, the overall violent crime trend has fallen. Aggravated assaults have gone down. Robberies declined, too.


In 2009, Tulsa saw a record amount of homicides at 71. Last year, Tulsa saw 58 – the fourth highest amount recorded. But the same year, violent crime numbers weren’t even in the city’s top 20 highest and hadn’t been so low since 1988. (See our homicide map here)

What causes the number of homicides to be higher in some years than others is hard to put a finger on, said TPD spokesman Leland Ashley.

It varies from year to year, often depending on how people choose to handle situations, Ashley said.

For example, in most cases when people argue or disagree on something, they go their separate ways. But as seen in many homicides, some might decide to shoot someone over it, he said.

“When they’re high, it’s a number people look at,” Ashley said. “But when they’re low, we try not to pat ourselves on the back.”


The Tulsa Police Department recorded the highest amount of violent crimes in 1992 with 5,008 reports. Since then, and especially in recent years, numbers have gone down.

The FBI defines violent crimes as murder and nonnegligent homicide, rape, robbery or aggravated assault.

Though the number of homicides have varied year to year, reports of violent crime have declined since 2008. The exception would be 2015, which saw a 13 percent increase, from 3,217 to 3,630.

Still, from 2008 to 2015, violent crime decreased by 26 percent.

As of August this year, Tulsa police recorded 2,963 instances of violent crime. The lowest number was in 1976 with 1,747 reports, OSBI records show.

In all years, aggravated assault was reported more than any other violent crime. The highest amount was recorded in 1992 with 5,008. In 2015, Tulsa police reported 2,357 cases  a 22 percent increase from 1,938 in 2014. The city has seen 1,874 this year, as of August.


Similarly, robberies have also been on the decline, falling 38 percent between 2010 and 2015. The highest recorded was in 1990 with 1,539.

Despite the fall in other violent crimes, reported rapes have increased since 2010, with the exception of a decrease in 2014.

In 2015, 361 rapes were reported and this year, as of August this year, 306.