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Neighborhood meeting to discuss crime in Northwest OKC


In a part of northwest Oklahoma City south of Interstate 44, non-violent crimes have increased recently as the weather warms outside, a neighbhorhood and community advocate said.

Ashley Dickson Oso, spokeswoman and programs director for the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma, said it is not unusual for crime to increase during summer months. She said there has been a spike in complaints about crime in an area of northwest Oklahoma City between NW 10 and NW 36, and between Interstate 235 and I-44. She said the number of vacant houses has increased in the area.

Four times a year, the alliance partners with the Oklahoma City police department to host community forums in different neighborhoods. Issues with northwest Oklahoma City crime will be addressed at a meeting 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Taft Middle School, 2901 NW 23.

Master Sgt. Robert Skalla said he will talk about "hot spot policing." He said the northwest part of the city has kept officers busy with extra patrols and enforcement efforts in locations of concern.

"It is an area that needs attention and we have given it attention. We've reduced some criminal activity, but we are not satisfied at the speed we are reducing it," he said.

"We are seeking collaboration with the community and residents and business partners in the area. We need their help."

He said police think up to 30 percent of crime is not reported.

"We want to talk a little bit about types of crimes and how residents can be more vigilante," Oso said.

There have been problems with graffiti, gang activity and prostitution, she said.

Skalla said the area covers three divisions of the police department — Hefner, Springlake and the Southwest divisions.

"All three divisions are coming together to reduce some of the criminal activity ... and increase safety and security in this area," Skalla.

He said one way to reduce crime is to improve more street lighting in the area.

Oso said residents in an area around NW 23 and N Pennsylvania Avenue have recently complained about an increase in panhandlers and homeless people who have been staying in tents and vacant houses in the area.

"Our goal is to educate all of our neighbors to know that they should call 911 and report all suspicious activities," she said.