Lawton_Lawton's crime statistics have been released, and the city is faring well. Compared to this time last year, Lawton Police Chief Ronnie Smith says we have seen a 36% decrease in violent crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
By the end of July last year, Lawton had 116 violent crimes on the books. However, at the end of July this year, the number was down to 42. Chief Smith says that while the numbers matter, the important thing is to keep Lawtonians safe, and try and crush the stigma that Lawton is a "bad town."
Smith attributes the drop in crime rates to his dedicated staff. "The patrolmen are catching burglars. The gang task force is putting some people in jail who have caused us a lot of problems. Our special ops is busting the drug dealers, and doing an excellent job on that," he said. "They're all doing an excellent job. I can't complain."
Smith says Lawton has gotten a bad reputation over the years for being a gang-infested, crime-ridden town. He says that's simply not the case. "Lawton is a good city. It's not a bad city like it's been made out to be in the past," he said. "Lawton is a safe city. The officers out here are dedicated to their work. They drive around the neighborhoods, talk to people. You have so many officers to do so much, and they're doing it."
Regarding reports, Smith warns residents not to compare crime stats between cities. He says crimes may be reported differently in different departments. When Lawton is compared to other cities, Smith wants to ensure that we are matched to similar communities, with comparable populations and the presence of a military base. "You can't take Lawton and compare it to a big town like El Paso and say we have a higher crime rate than El Paso - I don't care what was said, that's not true," he said.
With a population boom coming from Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Lawton will grow. However, Smith says his officers are working to keep neighborhoods safe.