Crime Rate Stirs Debate

They are topics as attention grabbing as police lights; public safety and crime.

"Our police department is doing an outstanding job of protecting the citizenry," said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, flanking the police chief as he discussed the city's 54 homicides.

"Am I unhappy the homicide rate is where it is this year? Yes, I am," said Chief Jordan.

But says the chief, there's context to be considered, that many occurred in risky lifestyles, including three gang related.

"If we had 54 homicides and 20 of them were gang related, I'm not doing something right," he said.

With less than a month till election day, the public's perception of crime is front and center.

"They feel safe," said Bartlett.

"Nine people have been murdered since last week alone," said mayoral candidate Kathy Taylor, taking exception to the mayor's opinion that Tulsans feel safe.

"No, in fact his own survey said that more than half of Tulsans do not feel safe," she said.

In fact, when asked about their perception of the city, the survey found that 46% had either a good or excellent overall feeling of safety in the city, with 26% feeling neutral and 28% feeling safety was below average.

As to whether or not Wednesday's press conference was politically motivated?

"This press conference was not politically motivated," said Bartlett.

"I think it was the same kind of politics that caused him to unnecessarily fire 124 police officers right after he took office before," said Taylor.