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January 1, 2013

Oklahoma City homicide rate spikes in 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City concludes 2012 with a grim record: the second highest number of homicides ever recorded in Oklahoma’s largest city.

As of Monday, 99 people had been killed by another person in the city during the year, according to police records. Gang-related homicides doubled compared to the previous year, and sharp increases were also seen in justifiable homicides, such as self-defense.

The total is the most since 102 homicides were reported in 1979, though the ranking does not include 1995, when the bombing at the downtown federal building killed 168 people. The city recorded 60 homicides in both 2010 and 2011.

Police officials noted the spike in homicides compared to previous years, saying it wasn’t clear what may have led to the sharp increase. But police Chief Bill Citty said “in most cases, there is some kind of drug nexus.”

“There’s nothing that points to the economy. We really don’t know why it jumps up or goes down from one year to the next,” added Sgt. Gary Knight, though he said gang activity, illegal drug trafficking and domestic violence are leading factors in homicide cases.

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