Oklahoma boasts a rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural landscapes. However, it grapples with its fair share of crime and violence, particularly in certain urban areas.
This article aims to disclose the city in Oklahoma that has earned the dubious title of being the state’s murder capital for 2023, relying on the most recent FBI data and other reliable sources.
To identify the city in Oklahoma with the highest number of murders, we utilized the following criteria:
- The reported number of murders by each city to the FBI in 2021.
- The murder rate per 100,000 population, obtained by dividing the number of murders by the city’s population and then multiplying by 100,000.
- The city’s ranking in the list of the 10 most dangerous cities in Oklahoma for 2023, as published by RoadSnacks.
We exclusively considered cities with a population of at least 5,000, and we excluded towns and villages that are not officially incorporated as cities.
Additionally, cities that failed to report their crime data to the FBI or provided incomplete or unreliable information were omitted from our analysis.
The Murder Capital of Oklahoma
Based on our criteria, Tulsa has been identified as the city with the highest number of murders in Oklahoma for 2023. Tulsa, the second-largest city in the state, serves as the cultural hub of the northeast region.
Known for its art deco architecture, oil industry, and musical heritage, Tulsa also bears the unfortunate distinction of being the most perilous place to reside in Oklahoma this year.
In 2021, Tulsa reported 59 murders, resulting in a murder rate of 15.0 per 100,000 residents, surpassing the national average of 4.6 by over threefold. This accounted for more than a quarter of the state’s total of 228 murders.
Since 2019, Tulsa’s murder rate has risen by 40%, starting at 10.7 per 100,000. Contributing factors to this high level of violence may include poverty, gang activity, drug-related issues, and racial tensions.
Tulsa’s poverty rate stands at 19.4%, exceeding both the state average of 15.6% and the national average of 12.3%. The city also bears a painful history of racial violence, exemplified by the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, one of the most severe incidents of racial violence in American history.
The Runner-Up City
In 2023, Oklahoma City, the capital and largest city of Oklahoma, came dangerously close to earning the title of the state’s murder capital.
With 82 recorded murders in 2021, Oklahoma City held the unfortunate distinction of having the second-highest number of homicides in the state. This equates to a murder rate of 12.4 per 100,000 population, more than twice the national average. Additionally, for 2023, it ranked as the seventh most perilous city in Oklahoma.
Over the past four years, Oklahoma City has seen a disconcerting 35% increase in its murder rate, up from 9.2 per 100,000 in 2019. This rise may be attributed to factors such as domestic violence, mental health struggles, and widespread firearm ownership.
Domestic violence plays a significant role in the city’s high murder rate, accounting for 41% of homicides in 2021. Furthermore, Oklahoma City faces a notable prevalence of mental health issues, with 18.9% of adults reporting a mental health condition in the past year, surpassing the national average of 17.4%.
The city also boasts a high rate of gun ownership, with 42.9% of households possessing a firearm, compared to the national average of 32.4%.
Tulsa and Oklahoma City are the two cities in Oklahoma with the highest number of murders and the highest murder rates in the state. They are also considered among the most dangerous cities in Oklahoma and the nation. While there are various factors contributing to the level of violence in these cities, there are also numerous efforts being made to decrease it.
For instance, both cities have put in place programs and initiatives aimed at preventing and addressing violent crimes, such as the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) program, the Domestic Violence Reduction Initiative (DVRI), and the Mental Health Court.
These initiatives seek to offer support and resources to individuals and communities most impacted by violence, while holding the perpetrators accountable.
Although these programs may not completely eradicate the issue of violence in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, they can contribute to making them safer and more conducive places for their residents and visitors.