MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 2, 2012

Crime reports flat in Muskogee

2011 totals essentially same as 2010

— Police officials say Muskogee’s crime rate has stabilized after a 2009 peak the department blames on economic woes.

“It shows that things are pretty much static,” Muskogee Police Department Chief Rex Eskridge said. “Statistically we’re pretty much maintaining and steady.”

Crime spiked in 2009 to its highest levels since the mid-2000s, but fell more than 18 percent in 2010. Those totals repeated themselves in 2011, as reported crimes stayed essentially level, with just a one percent increase over 2010.

In 2009, 2,548 crimes were reported to police — the most since 2004. In 2010, there were 2,068 reported crimes and in 2011, 2,096 crimes, just a 1.3 percent increase.

Forcible rape rates showed the most dramatic rise, jumping from 19 reported in 2010 to 28 reported in 2011. That 47 percent rise has police worried.

“Rapes were up, and we obviously don’t like to see that,” Eskridge said. “But there’s no strong pattern to it. I know a lot of them were of a date rape sense, where two people know each other. We didn’t have a serial rapist in town or anything like that. Another thing is that more women are willing to report rapes now as they continue to feel more empowered.

“However, (the rise is) something we’re not pleased to see.”

Assaults also rose, from 295 in 2010 to 317 in 2011. However, that total is still a 20 percent decrease from 2009 totals. Theft reports totaled 1,069 — the third consecutive year that number reached more than 1,000. But, again, Eskridge said, that number represented a decline from its peak in 2009.

Eskridge said police have maintained the high 2009 crime totals were a result of a down economy.

“That was the year the economy problems really hit us head on,” Eskridge said.

There were six reported homicides in 2011. Two of those, Eskridge said, are special circumstances.

A January 2011 stabbing of Paul David Granofsky, 51, was ruled by the Muskogee County District Attorney’s Office to be justifiable.

In February 2011, law enforcement officers recovered the remains of Carol Grannon, who was reported missing in 1999. Her husband, Jeff Grannon, confessed Feb. 24, 2011, to killing Carol Grannon and hiding her remains in a manhole.

“That was a homicide that took place in 1999,” Eskridge said. “But it was reported in 2011, so that’s when it showed up in the statistics.”

There were no homicides reported in the city from March through October. But then a violent streak popped up, ending the year on a sour, bloody note.

• Roshun English, 35, was shot and killed in his home Nov. 11 during what police allege was a robbery attempt.

• Ryan Satterfield, 17, was shot and killed Nov. 23 at a friend’s house at 1505 E. Okmulgee Ave., when police allege several teens attempted to rob Satterfield and his friends.

• Anton Nelson, 18, was shot and killed Dec. 9 in the street at 21st and Tennyson streets.

• Ja’Cion Logan, 2, was shot and killed Dec. 21 at 1109 Indianapolis St.

In less than two months, Muskogee went from zero unjustifiable homicides in 2011, which would have been a first in the 2000s, to four.

“We know they were all either gang related or from ongoing issues,” Eskridge said about the shooting deaths. “Right now, with gangs, crimes go up. Our objective is to isolate the leaders and get them sent off. I think we’re doing that.”

Crimes that fell were robberies, from 57 in 2010 to 55 last year and burglaries, from 579 in 2010 to 539 in 2011.

Motor vehicle thefts stood firm at 82, the same number as 2010.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth @muskogeephoenix.com.

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