MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 2, 2009

No murders here in 2008

Police say an increased law enforcement presence was a major factor in no murders being committed in Muskogee in 2008.

“It’s the second time in six years Muskogee has gone murder free,” said Muskogee Police Chief Rex Eskridge.

Muskogee also logged no murders in 2002, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports show.

“A lot of it has to do with the hard work of the men and women in law enforcement — police, feds, sheriff, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and the DA,” Eskridge said. “You know you’re going to get prosecuted in this town. That sends a strong message.”

Eskridge said Muskogee is a law enforcement community with federal agencies being a big part of that with programs like Operation Falcon (a recent criminal roundup).

“That put a lot of felons away and took them off the street,” he said. “Getting habitual and repeat offenders off the streets — that’s a lot of who commits your homicides.”

Marie Seabolt, director of marketing and research for Muskogee Development Corp., said that traditionally, Muskogee has the image of having a high crime rate, which is a bit skewed.

“We definitely will put that news (of no murders in 2002 and 2008) in some of our advertising materials. That is something we will want to tout.”

Lots of things add up to the year’s record, Eskridge said.

Several houses were shot up in Muskogee this year, and police were able to learn who had purchased 1,500 rounds of high-powered rifle ammunition and make cases on those individuals, he said.

Some credit can be given to law enforcement management style and patrolling efforts, strong enforcement and area drug units, said Deputy Chief Johnny Teehee.

“We were getting information on things occurring and reacting and working on it,” Teehee said.

Visibility of law enforcement helps a lot, Teehee said.

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