Le Flore County, located on the eastern edge of Oklahoma, is home to approximately 48,000 residents. It was named after a prominent Choctaw family that played a significant role in the area’s history.
This county is part of the Fort Smith metropolitan area and boasts a diverse cultural and natural heritage. However, it’s important to note that not all areas within the county enjoy the same level of safety and tranquility.
Based on crime data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for the year 2020, certain neighborhoods in Le Flore County exhibit higher rates of both violent and property crimes compared to state and national averages. Here are the top five neighborhoods with the highest crime rates per 100,000 residents in Le Flore County:
The city of Poteau, which has a population of approximately 8,600 people, serves as both the county seat and the main city in Le Flore County.
With a rate of 412.9 for acts of violent crime and a rate of 3,760.7 for acts of property crime, it is also the most hazardous area in the county. These rates are considerably higher than the corresponding averages for the state, which are 459 and 2,706.
Heavener is a city located in the southern portion of Le Flore County and is home to approximately 3,400 residents. It is famous for its picturesque location next to the Ouachita National Forest and the Heavener Runestone Park, both of which have a cryptic stone inscription, which some people believe to have its roots in Viking culture.
However, Heavener also has a high crime rate, with a rate of 274 for violent crimes and a rate of 1,309 for property crimes. These rates are lower than those found in Poteau, but they are still higher than the averages found throughout the state.
There are approximately 2,200 people living in the town of Spiro, which is located in the northern portion of Le Flore County. It is situated in close proximity to the Arkansas River as well as the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, which is home to one of the most significant prehistoric Native American sites in all of North America.
On the other hand, Spiro also has a high crime rate, with a rate of 276.4 for violent crimes and a rate of 783 for property crimes. These prices are somewhat higher than those in Heavener, but they are cheaper than those in Poteau.
There are approximately one thousand people living in the town of Wister, which is located in the middle of Le Flore County. It is located in close proximity to Wister Lake State Park, which provides a variety of options for outdoor activities, including hiking, boating, camping, and fishing.
However, Wister also has a high crime rate, both in terms of violent crime (94.7 per 100,000 residents) and property crime (2,178 per 100,000 residents). When it comes to violent crimes, their percentages are lower than Spiro’s, but when it comes to property crimes, they are higher.
There are approximately one thousand people living in the town of Shady Point, which is located in the eastern portion of Le Flore County. It is characterized by its proximity to the Poteau River as well as its rural and agricultural setting.
On the other hand, Shady Point also has a high rate of crime overall, with a rate of property crime that is 200.4 and a rate of violent crime that is 100.2. These rates are lower than what Wister found for both categories of criminal activity.
These five neighborhoods in Le Flore County account for the majority of the 922 crimes reported in 2020. The county’s overall crime rate was 18.65%, which is lower than the state average of 22.7%, but higher than the national average of 15%.
Despite the higher crime rates, these neighborhoods offer appealing features that draw in residents and visitors. For instance, Poteau boasts a charming historic downtown area with shops, restaurants, museums, and festivals.
Heavener has a diverse population, including many Hispanic and Native American residents, contributing to its cultural vibrancy. Spiro is known for its tight-knit community and civic pride, which strongly supports local businesses and events.
Wister is celebrated for its picturesque landscape, offering numerous outdoor activities and wildlife encounters. Shady Point stands out for its low cost of living and welcoming, friendly atmosphere for newcomers.
Hence, while these neighborhoods may have higher crime rates, they are not inherently undesirable places to live or visit. It’s important for both residents and visitors to exercise caution and stay informed about potential risks and opportunities in these areas. By doing so, they can fully appreciate the unique qualities these neighborhoods have to offer while remaining mindful of potential hazards.