Oklahoma City flirted with a dubious record in 2012: its 99 homicides were the third most in history, just three short of the 102 homicides in 1979, The Oklahoman reports. Police Chief Bill Citty said homicide numbers can fluctuate wildly from one year to the next. The city had 60 homicides in both 2010 and 2011. He is troubled by growing numbers of assaults that indicate increasing violence.
Homicide totals for 2012 in cities with similar population include Portland, Or., 27; Albuquerque, N.M., 46; and Las Vegas, 80. In Oklahoma City, the year began with a spike in domestic homicides, but those numbers leveled off. Gang-related violence was the biggest driver of the increased numbers, the chief said. “The gang violence is the highest we’ve had,” Citty said. “Our drive-bys are up. Our gang-related and gang-involved homicides almost doubled.”