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Lawton hits 10 homicides for the year

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LAWTON, Okla_If you think that homicides in Lawton are on the increase, you're right. With two homicides over the weekend, there have now been a total of 10 already this year, which matches last year's total, with three months still to go. It's the first time Lawton has experienced double-digit homicides in back-to-back years in a very long time.

Lawton has a reputation for crime and it's not a good one. But the truth about Lawton's crime statistics is that there are fewer murders per person in Lawton, than you'll find in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. There have been more homicides lately, but you have to go back to 1978 and 1979 to find 10 or more homicides, two years in a row. Still, those words are less than comforting for concerned Lawton residents.

The question everybody wants to know the answer to, why have there been so many murders in Lawton?

"That's a good question, that's what we've been asking ourselves. The last year or so there have been a lot more calls on shots fired and more shootings that have occurred," Captain Craig Akard said.

There were two homicides last weekend, 10 so far in the first 9 months of 2012, that's enough to cause concern for Lawton residents. But the fact that you don't know where or when these violent crimes will occur is even more unsettling.

"I think that's what concerns people the most is just because you're supposed to be living in a nice comfortable safe neighborhood doesn't mean something may not happen there."

Captain Akard has been on the Lawton Police Department for almost 30 years, in that time people have changed, he said today they are less likely to work things out without resorting to violence.

"People just want to solve their problems with guns instead of talking about it, trying to straighten it out. It's a different mindset today."

The numbers don't lie, more homicides the last two years, and with two over the weekend, Lawton residents are on edge, wondering if this is a trend that will last or something that will soon pass.

"We've always had crimes that have occurred but it seems like now especially these homicides and these last few shootings, they've all come at one time."

So what's the answer? We'll go straight to the man responsible for reigning in Lawton crime. Tuesday we'll be talking with new Lawton Police Chief James Smith, he's been on the job for less than 30 days. We will find out what he plans to do as the city's chief law enforcement officer Tuesday night at 6, on 7News.

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